Sunday, March 31, 2013

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes

I am not a big fan of baking with alcohol, but when the selfless and generous-hearted volunteers from the Atlanta Humane Society requested Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes, who was I to refuse them anything? They give 200% of themselves every single day and more than deserve a cupcake treat for Springtime!
The Guinness made these cupcakes dense and moist and utterly delicious, and the cream cheese frosting complemented nicely with its light and subtle flavor. With the recipe's high yield (24 cupcakes) I was able to spread the scrumptiousness and sweetness to a handful of friends, all of the volunteers, and still have a couple left over to sample myself! :-) Now that is perfection!!!

For the cupcakes:
Yield 24
Bake 350* for 20 - 25 minutes

1 (11.2-ounce) bottle Guinness stout
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large cage-free eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt

For the frosting:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
Pinch fine salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 pound powdered sugar
Natural unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
(I used pale blue food coloring instead)

For the cupcakes:
Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Place cupcake liners in two (12-well) muffin pans; Set the pans aside.
Whisk together the Guinness, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla in a large bowl until combined. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until completely incorporated. Whisk in the sour cream.
Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a second large bowl to aerate and combine. Gradually fold this mixture into the wet Guinness mixture. Divide the batter among the muffin wells.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Set the pans on a wire rack and let the cupcakes cool completely before removing from the pans.

For the frosting:
Place the cream cheese and salt in the bowl and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, gradually beat in the heavy cream until smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. With the mixer on medium speed, gradually mix in the powdered sugar until completely incorporated and smooth, about 3 minutes.
Top each cupcake with a heap of frosting and dust with cocoa powder.

*I am celebrating SPRING!!!!! so instead I chose to add a small drop of blue food coloring to my frosting, and place a blue mini Cadbury egg on top of each cupcake, like a wee robin's egg.

(M+M eggs work just as well, and multi-colored eggs are also very pretty!)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

German Breakfast Cupcakes

For those of you who happen to enjoy nibbling on SWEETS for breakfast, TAH DAH!!! The German Breakfast Cupcake!
Similar in texture and taste to a verrry sweet pancake, these cupcakes are light and fluffy, which was quite appealing.
This recipe is from my mother, Eleanor Delaney, who has also baked them brownie-like in a 9 x 13 pan with better results than I had baking them as cupcakes, as you will see below :-)

German Breakfast Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 400
Yield 6 large cupcakes

1/4 cup butter
1cup flour
1 cup milk
3 teaspoon sugar (I used 3 tablespoons because I have a wicked sweet tooth read: a problem)
1teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 or 6 cage-free eggs (I used 4 eggs, my mother 6)
strawberries, raspberries, and/or blueberries - frozen OR fresh. I used frozen raspberries and blueberries and sprinkled them with sugar to bring out a bit of their natural juices.

From my mother's kitchen and own words!!!
"2 cups of the berries. I just used a lot. More than 2 cups. (I used slightly less than 2 and found it to be plenty!)
Melt butter in measuring cup in microwave. Distribute equally in the bottom of cupcake tins - I used a 6 cupcake, large cupcake pan.
Mix all of the ingredients together. Then stir in the berries. Pour batter into the tins.
Bake for about 25 min. Sprinkle immediately with powdered sugar. Lots. Although, not too
much - makes me cough. Now you may gobble it all up..."

I topped 1 cupcake with homemade whipped cream and actually found it to be even yummier than the others!

Whipped Cream, optional
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine and beat until stiffens, plop immediately into the fridge - best served cold - also best to freeze beaters and bowl prior to using!

Now...because I feel I should share the cupcake-baking disasters as well as the triumphs (we are all human here, yes??!!) let me tell you about the Ruined Experiment Cupcakes.
My husband requested no excessively-sweet-loaded-with-berries cupcakes for his breakfast, so I made him 2 all for himself before I added the raspberries and blueberries. Apparently, the berries add a heaviness to the cupcakes required for baking. I did not do well in chemistry class; therefore, there was a small explosion in my oven this morning. Happily, I had slipped a baking sheet on the oven rack beneath my cupcakes, which collected the majority of the mess that ensued.
And for your viewing pleasure, photos of the alleged Ruined Experiment Cupcakes:

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes With Milk Chocolate Glaze

These decadently-rich candied delights are so sickeningly rich I could not even eat one. That's right, even with my infamous sweet tooth, I DID NOT FINISH A CUPCAKE!!!! The moral of the story is so not go overboard, if you give them as a gift be sure to enclose a disclaimer, and whatever you do, refrain from nibbling on the batter. Oh-so-difficult a task, as the batter is so creamy and dense it tastes exactly like Peanut Butter Fudge!!!!!

Consider yourselves forewarned. Now onward with the details of this self-made creation!!!

The recipe begins with basic Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Yield 12
350* for 22 minutes

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter (3/4 stick) at room temperature
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large cage-free egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk - here I substituted Heavy Whipping Cream - let the decadence begin posthaste!!!!

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar until blended and creamy. Add the egg and beat. Add the vanilla and beat. On low speed, add the flour mixture and the milk (substitute heavy whipping cream for fudge consistency!!!!) alternately, ending with the flour, until batter is smooth.
Use paper cupcake liners, and bake on 350 for 22 minutes - OR!!!!!! - I baked for 15 minutes, pulled the cupcake pan out of the oven, and added a whole Reese's Peanut Butter cup to a couple of my cupcakes, pushing it gently into the batter so it rested just on top, then continued baking for the remaining 7 minutes.
OHHHHHHH SWEETNESSSS, the taste of those 1/2 melted peanut butter cups!!!!

Insert a toothpick to test doneness. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove cupcakes to a wire rack to continue cooling.

While your cupcakes are cooling, make the glaze -

Milk Chocolate Glaze
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup milk chocolate chips (I used Nestle mini's)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

On low heat, heat the cream and butter until hot and the butter has melted, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add the milk chocolate chips. Let sit for 1 minute until chocolate begins to melt, add vanilla and whisk until chocolate has melted completely and the glaze is smooth. It's okay to return to heat if needed for full melting to take place, just whisk constantly. Glaze should be thick enough in consistency to spread thinly on top of each cupcake. I am sure these are incredibly yummy with the milk chocolate glaze alone, and may be enough for some cupcake lovers, to be sure, but not for me!!!! I adore excessiveness!!!!!!!  :-) And to that end, I added a whole Reese's Peanut Butter cup to the top of each cupcake after glazing - the cupcakes and glaze were still warm, so the peanut butter cup became a smidge melty and added to the deliciousness factor!!!

Please eat with plenty of water (mmmmmm, or milk if you want to revisit your childhood) so you remain standing!!!!!!! :-)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcakes

Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcakes

Simple, easy, refreshing and ooooooozing sweet -yummy-goo (yes, that is a word!! ;-) These cupcakes are best made in a large cupcake tin and would be perfection on a wraparound porch with lemonade in the springtime!!!!
Start with cupcake batter from any yellow cupcake recipe. Yes, you actually get to pick your favorite! Here is the recipe I used - be sure to double it, as you will have enough Pineapple and Topping for 12 large cupcakes!

Easy Mix Yellow Cupcake Batter

Yield 12 small cupcakes, 6 large cupcakes
(double recipe for 24 small and 12 large)

1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 large egg*
1 large egg yolk*
*(if doubling recipe, use 3 large eggs)
1 cup sugar
½ cup canola or corn oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup sour cream (I used Vanilla yogurt – sweeter and delish!!!)

1. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the egg and yolk (or 3 eggs) and sugar until thickened and lightened to a creamy color, about 2 minutes.
3. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On low speed, mix in the oil and vanilla until blended. Mix in the sour cream (vanilla yogurt) until no white streaks remain. Mix in the flour mixture until it is incorporated and the batter is smooth.

Line the cupcake tin with wax paper circles and coat the sides and circles heavily with Crisco shortening.

Brown Sugar Glaze Pineapple Topping
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup packed dark brown sugar

Put 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of the brown sugar glaze in the bottom of each muffin cup.

Put a slice of pineapple on top of the brown sugar glaze (you will need 12 pineapple slices, which equalled 1 20-ounce can plus 1 8-ounce can)

Pour about 1/3 cup of yellow batter over each pineapple slice, nearly to the top of the cup.
Bake at 350
25 minutes

Insert toothpick in the center of the cupcake (but not in the pineapple!) - the cupcakes are done when the toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges of the cupcakes gently with a knife, then place a wire rack on top of the cupcake tin. Using both hands (and potholders!!!!) invert the cupcake pan upside down so the cupcakes slide out onto the wire rack - they should come out very easily!!! Allow to cool completely, then serve!

So very pretty! The recipe called for a dollop of homemade whipped cream topping on top, but my husband, who is King of all the cupcakes in the land and gets to make these kinds of very important decisions, asked for no whipped topping. Here is the recipe for y'all just in case it's your preference! 

Whipped Cream Topping
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- beat until stiff on medium speed, best served chilled, also best if bowl and beaters and chilled prior to using!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Frozen Peanut Butter Yogurt Dog Treat Cupcakes

Frozen Peanut Butter Yogurt Dog Treat Cupcakes

Cupcake-baking, vintage-loving, 1950's housewife by night, animal rescuer, defender, and protector by day!
A beloved animal warrior who was very dear to my heart passed away this weekend, and I baked these doggie-treat-cupcakes in homage to him. These are for Herbie. Rest in peace....

Frozen Peanut Butter Yogurt Dog Treat Cupcakes
Yield 24 small cupcakes

• 32 ounces vanilla yogurt
• 1 cup peanut butter

1. Melt the peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl
2. Combine the yogurt and melted peanut butter
3. Pour the mixture into cupcake paper liners
4. Place in the freezer

Although I had hoped they would look a bit more like legitimate cupcakes!!!!!, my own crazy dogs LOVED these delicious doggie-cupcakes and gobbled them right up :-)