Baking: It's Chemistry You Can Eat!

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Oops January 24, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — kward23 @ 10:44 am

I realize that it has been nearly a year since  I’ve posted anything.  I really did not mean to, but between school and work, I completely forgot.  I haven’t even had time to bake in the last few months, so that shows how busy I’ve been.  I did bake a lot of wonderful cupcakes over the summer, but they were mostly repeats of things I’ve already baked.  Maybe one of these days when I have a bunch of free time I’ll get around to at least posting pictures of them.  For now, however, I will not be updating anything here or even baking for the next few months as I will be in Australia for my student teaching semester.  If you are at all interested, I will be blogging about that experience as well (more consistently, I hope).  So maybe when I return in May I’ll try to bake an awesome Aussie inspired cupcake!  The link to my blog will be in the side bar.

 

Cupcake 13: French Toast February 29, 2012

Filed under: Recipes,Uncategorized — kward23 @ 9:04 pm

I’m not much of a breakfast person. But if I must eat it, there’s going to be syrup involved. And lots of it. Usually it would also include more bacon than any one person should ever eat. Unfortunately for me, I gave up bacon about a month ago, so these wonderful breakfast style cupcakes don’t have any bacon in them. But no worries, they’re still fantastic.

I’ve been dying to make French toast cupcakes for quite some time. Someone suggested them to me over the summer, but I never got around to it. After a few weeks of repeating cupcakes or baking something very simple, I finally had time to try something new and I finally found a decent recipe for French toast cupcakes. Of course, the original recipe called for bacon both in the batter and as a garnish. I had to eliminate this part, but once I can eat bacon again I’ll try these again and include the best part. I also edited the frosting recipe slightly so I didn’t have too much leftover. While the cupcakes were baking, the entire kitchen was filled with the smell of French toast. I was immediately in heaven. Then I made the frosting and it was absolutely fantastic. It might end up higher on my list than the butterbeer frosting and the Oreo cream frosting, which are both incredible. I was sad that I couldn’t use bacon as a garnish, so I sprinkled a little bit of cinnamon sugar on top for added taste.

 

French Toast Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp maple extract
1/2 cup milk

 

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy, then beat in the sugar. Add in eggs one at a time, beating well after each, then add in maple extract. Alternate adding the dry mix and the milk, beginning and ending with dry. Scoop batter into a lined cupcake tin and bake for 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

 

For the frosting:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 tbsp pure maple syrup (make sure it’s pure!)

1/2 tsp maple extract

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Pinch of salt

 

In a large bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add in the maple syrup, maple extract, and salt. Beat in powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Spread or pipe onto completely cooled cupcakes. Garnish with cinnamon sugar or bacon if you would like.

 

IMG_0086

 

Cupcake 12: Blue Moon February 26, 2012

Filed under: Recipes,Uncategorized — kward23 @ 2:16 pm

Alright, alright. I know it’s been roughly 2 months since I last posted. But I’ve been busy, with a new semester, harder classes, and 2 very long weeks of midterms. The madness is over, though, so I guess I’ll finally catch up on what I’ve been baking. I’ve mostly been doing simple cupcakes, like the ice cream sundae cupcakes I made earlier in the semester, which were just chocolate cake with hot fudge sauce and vanilla frosting. Pretty simple, yet absolutely delicious. I made the Butterbeer cupcakes again (they’re my favorite, I just couldn’t resist). And then, I finally made the cupcakes I’ve been dying to make for quite some time. Blue Moon. Yes, they have beer in them. One of my favorite beers, actually. A friend of mine found the recipe somewhere on the internet and asked me to make them, but of course I wasn’t yet 21 at that point. I decided they’d be a fantastic Super Bowl cupcake, but seeing as I was working during the Super Bowl, I decided to just make them and take them in to work.

The original recipe called for a frothy white frosting, but it looked like a lot more effort than I’d like to put forth (I didn’t have a ton of free time at this point). So, I decided to make an orange buttercream instead, which only made sense. Everything was delicious. The beer left just a little bit of an aftertaste, and paired with the orange buttercream, tasted a bit like drinking a Blue Moon. I was quite pleased. I suppose if you’re not a huge fan of Blue Moon, you can use your favorite beer and leave the orange zest out or use a different fruit, depending on the beer. Overall, everyone loved them, even my friends who don’t drink at all (the alcohol pretty much bakes out).

 

Blue Moon Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 3/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 cup flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3 eggs, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla

2 drops red food coloring (optional)

10 drops yellow food coloring (optional)

1/2 tsp orange zest

1 cup Blue Moon beer

1/4 cup milk

 

Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy, then beat in the sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each. Beat in vanilla, orange zest, and food coloring (if you want). In a measuring cup, combine Blue Moon and milk. Alternate adding the dry mix and the liquids, starting and ending with dry, beating between additions and scraping the bowl as necessary.  Scoop the batter into a lined cupcake tin and bake for 18 minutes, or until they are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

 

For the frosting:

1/3 cup butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 – 1 1/2 tsp orange extract (to taste)

3 cups powdered sugar

2-3 tbsp milk

 

In a large bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and orange extracts. Add in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Beat in milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Spread or pipe onto cupcakes. Top each with an orange slice if desired.

 

bluemoon

 

Merry Christmas! December 25, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — kward23 @ 5:47 pm

Ah Christmas. It is a wonderful time of year, full of food, family, friends, and gifts. More importantly, it’s a time for more cupcake things! This year, I got a new muffin tin, cupcake calendar (with recipe cards), and a wonderful cupcake book. I’ll be trying out some of those recipes and putting them up here. But for now, I just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and share with you a wonderful gift idea for us not so rich college students.

This year, I gave my friends each a jar containing the dry ingredients for 5 minute mug cake (I found one without egg!). I included the recipe so that they can make more after they finish the first. It’s a delicious and crafty gift that they can keep on using. And believe me, college kids love anything that means free and/or easy food.

I also made cupcakes for a friend’s Christmas party. I used the recipe for the peppermint patty cupcakes, minus the ganache, and turned it into candy cane cupcakes. To do that, I made two batches of frosting, leaving one white and coloring the other red. I then swirled them as I piped it into the cupcakes. They looked adorable and everyone loved them!

 

 

DSCF3788DSCF3792DSCF3793

 

Cupcake 11: Apple Pie November 24, 2011

Filed under: Recipes,Uncategorized — kward23 @ 7:25 pm

I love Thanksgiving. There is a seemingly endless supply of turkey and mashed potatoes, two of my favorite foods (even more so now that I’m used to eating campus food). There’s also more dessert than any one person should eat. I’m not a fan of the usual pumpkin pie, but I do have a soft spot for apple pie. The last few years, I’ve been in charge of the apple pie, using a recipe I found in a kid’s cookbook. It’s delicious. But this year, I didn’t really feel like baking a whole pie. I think it’s the constant desire for cupcakes that made me feel that way. So, I made apple pie cupcakes! I found the recipe randomly last year and made them, but they didn’t turn out quite right that time. This year, however, they look and smell spectacular.

The original recipe calls for a vanilla frosting, but by the time I got home yesterday, it was a little late to head to the grocery store to buy more butter (it requires 2 1/2 sticks!). So I decided to shake things up and make the same cinnamon frosting I made for the Snickerdoodle cupcakes. It’s delicious. And it’s even better on top of these cupcakes. I must say that while nothing can ever fully replace a nice warm slice of apple pie, these cupcakes are a pretty decent replacement for those of us that are just too lazy to make a pie.

 

Apple Pie Cupcakes

Makes 20 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

3 cups sifted cake flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1 cup butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup milk

 

Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, beat butter until softened, then add in the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until well combined. Add in vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add about 1/4 of the dry mixture to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and beat until well combined. Add about 1/3 of the milk, mixing well. Continue adding dry and wet ingredients, starting and ending with dry. Scoop batter in to a lined cupcake tin and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool completely before coring/filling/frosting.

 

For the filling:

2 large apples (I used Honeycrisp)

2 tbsp butter

2 tsp cinnamon

2-3 tbsp sugar

 

To make the apple filling, heat the butter a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the cinnamon and sugar and cook for a minute, until the mixture begins to bubble.  Lower the heat to medium and stir in the apples.  Mix well. Cook until the apples are somewhat tender, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.

To fill the apples, use a small paring knife to core each cupcake, making sure to leave a rim around the top of each cupcake. Once the apple filling is completely cooled, fill the cupcakes.

 

For the frosting:

1/3 cup butter

3 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp milk

 

In a large bowl, beat the butter until softened. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Mix in vanilla, cinnamon, and 1 tbsp of milk. Continue adding small amounts of milk until desired consistency is reached. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes.

 

applepie

 

Cupcake 10: Peppermint Patty November 13, 2011

Filed under: Recipes,Uncategorized — kward23 @ 3:49 pm

Alright, alright I know I’ve been slacking on updates. Forgive me, I’m a busy college student. But I have been baking and trying to come up with new and fantastic ideas!

I was looking for ideas one day when my roommate offered me her 3 different cupcake books to look at. I was browsing through, not really finding anything that really drew me in. Until the end of the third book when I found something peppermint and I knew I wanted to do peppermint. The only problem was, what could I possibly do with it? It’s too early in the season for candy canes (not until the day after Thanksgiving!). I was on my way to work one day and it hit me. Peppermint patties. I made brownie bites with peppermint patties in them my freshman year and they were delicious. I had already bought peppermint extract, so I was all set. The only problem was how I should properly recreate one of my favorite candies. I settled for a dark chocolate cake with a white chocolate peppermint ganache and then a frosting that included a bit of that ganache. I will admit I took that idea from the butterbeer cupcakes that I absolutely adore. Anyways, these cupcakes turned out fantastically and were adored by everyone. And then I forgot to take a picture, so I apologize!

 

Peppermint Patty Cupcakes

Makes 18 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 2/3 cups sugar

3/4 cup butter or margarine, room temperature

2/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa (I used Hershey’s special dark. yum!)

1 1/4 cups water

1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

Heat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, beat butter until softened, then add in sugar and beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until well combined, then add vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Add about 1/4 of the dry mixture and beat well. Add about 1/3 of the water and beat until well combined. Continue adding the dry mix and water, ending with dry, mixing each time until well combined, scraping the bowl as necessary. Scoop into a lined cupcake tin and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely before filling and frosting.

 

For the ganache:

1 11-oz. package white chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream

Peppermint extract (about 1 teaspoon)

In a double boiler (heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water on the stove), combine white chocolate chips and heavy cream and stir until completely combined and smooth. Add peppermint extract a few drops at a time until desired flavor is reached. Cool to room temperature. Set aside 1/3 cup for the frosting. Fill a squeeze bottle with ganache and insert into the center of each cupcake, squeezing until filling begins to overflow.

 

For the frosting:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup peppermint ganache
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 16-oz. package powdered sugar
Splash of milk or cream (as needed)

Cream butter in a large bowl until fluffy. Add in ganache, vanilla, peppermint extract, and salt and mix until well combined. Beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until reaching desired consistency. Add milk or cream by the Tablespoon as needed. Frost cupcakes and top with half of a York peppermint patty (if you want to). You can also melt dark chocolate to drizzle over top of them.

 

Halloween November 4, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — kward23 @ 1:45 pm

Halloween is a wonderful holiday. You can get dressed up however you want, there’s tons of candy, and the parties are great. A friend of mine who, by the way, has never had my cupcakes, asked me to bake some for her Halloween party. I agreed and immediately began thinking of potential cupcakes. It’s a good thing I had about a month to think about it because I’m super busy and don’t really have time to constantly think about cupcakes.

I knew off the bat that I should bake something that would be dark in color and still be slightly festive. She asked if it would be possible to have a red filling that would ooze out to look like blood, but I couldn’t think of a good way to do it without a food processor or buying jam. I told her I’d do my best. I ended up choosing a dark chocolate cupcake (see the Oreo cupcakes), filling it with a white chocolate raspberry ganache, and topping it with an orange buttercream.

To make the ganache, I used the recipe for butterscotch ganache from the Butterbeer cupcake recipe, replacing butterscotch chips with white chocolate. I then used raspberry extract to give it the flavor. It was delicious and soaked right into the cake, keeping it very moist and making the raspberry flavor very subtle.

To make the frosting, I made a batch of vanilla buttercream and used a few drops of orange extract to flavor it. I had never used the orange extract before, so I was very careful about how much went in. A few drops of it made it taste as though I had just squeezed a fresh orange into the frosting. I was in heaven. I wanted to eat it all right out of the bowl, but I had to resist so that there would be enough to frost the cupcakes for the party.

The cupcakes were an absolute hit. I brought a cupcake tower with me to display them, only further helping my costume (I went as a housewife). I decorated the empty space on the tower with some candy corn and put adorable eyeball picks in the cupcakes. Unfortunately, some of the frosting started to melt while in transit from my dorm to the party, but party-goers didn’t seem to care.

 

halloweencupcake                                               halloweentower

 

 
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