Baking: It's Chemistry You Can Eat!

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So. Many. Cupcakes. October 23, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — kward23 @ 3:06 pm

Living on a college campus opens up a world of opportunities when it comes to baking for others. For example, my suitemate’s senior vocal recital was today, so when she was weighing her options for reception treats, I was one of her choices. She’s tasted pretty much every cupcake I’ve made since I’ve gotten here, so she already knew exactly what to expect. I, on the other hand, had no idea what I was getting myself into. Her initial request provided me with little information, but I knew I’d at least get paid for my time and effort. Little did I know, I would be expected to bake at least 80 mini cupcakes. I didn’t think it would be too bad, considering they would be tiny and mini cupcakes don’t take too long in the oven. What I didn’t think about, however, was the fact that I had to pipe frosting onto each and every one. We decided on some pretty basic cupcakes, using a vanilla cake for half of them and chocolate cake for the other half. Both cakes turned out fantastically. We also chose some pretty basic frostings, finally choosing vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. This would give guests a fair selection and it covered most people’s flavor preferences.

I’ve gotten into the habit of preparing the dry ingredients ahead of time so 1) I have less to carry up to the kitchen and 2) I can save myself some time in the kitchen. So when it came time to bake the cupcakes yesterday, I was fully prepared and made my way upstairs. 3 long hours later, I was finally finished baking, frosting, and decorating. Don’t get me wrong, I love baking and making cupcakes look adorable. But 96 cupcakes is a lot. Like way more than I expected and a lot more exhausting than I expected. I managed to make it through the day without eating a single cupcake (but that says nothing about batter and leftover frosting), which was really hard to do. Have you ever actually tried to bake that many cupcakes and not eat any of them? I didn’t think I could do it. Especially after looking at this:


And they aren’t even frosted yet. But no worries, I have a picture of the frosted cupcakes too!


If you click on the picture, you’ll be able to grasp the full cuteness. I can’t believe I didn’t eat any of them until the actual recital today. They were delicious. And I’m guessing everyone else thought so too because they disappeared pretty quickly. With any luck I’ll be able to find a picture of the whole set up, but that may not happen because cupcakes were disappearing as soon as they were being put out.

All in all, my first real catering experience (other than the baby shower last month) was good. I’m hoping to be able to do some more and really experience it!


Review: Heavenly Cupcakes October 16, 2011

Filed under: Reviews,Uncategorized — kward23 @ 2:38 am

I tend to avoid going to cupcake places because being exposed to that much cake is just dangerous to my health.  But nonetheless, I go in and see what they have.  I’ve been told by a few different people that I needed to check out this small bakery in Kent because everyone knows I love cupcakes.  I took their advice (or at least attempted to) one day, only to find that they had sold out for the day and had already closed.  So I went back the next day, and thank goodness they were still open.  Being a little later in the day, there wasn’t really a lot left, but the cupcake I did have was delicious.

The shop itself is absolutely adorable.  There are cute little tables set up so you can sit and enjoy your cupcakes in the store while basking in the pink and white cupcake decor.  Everything about it screams cupcakes.  Then you get to the counter where you can browse their daily selection.  I had glanced over their menu online to see what I could expect, and unfortunately by the time I got there the cupcake I really wanted to try was gone.  I guess I’ll have to go earlier in the day at some point.  I ended up getting their Lemon Fluff cupcake and boy was it delicious.

The cake itself was incredibly soft and definitely lemon.  It was topped with a light lemon buttercream and, to my surprise, filled with a lemon cream.  I’m usually a little uneasy about that much lemon, but the weather has been awful lately and this burst of lemon made it all better.  They weren’t shy about the lemon flavor either.  I got it in the first little bite, all the way until I finished off the little lemon cookie topper.

I will definitely return to the bakery to see what other cupcakes I can try, and maybe I’ll even wait until I get back to my dorm to eat it so I can put a picture of it up.  So if you’re in the Kent, Ohio area and craving cake, I would definitely recommend Heavenly Cupcakes!


Cupcake 9: Snickerdoodle September 21, 2011

Filed under: Recipes,Uncategorized — kward23 @ 11:27 am

My mom volunteered me to bake for her cousin’s baby shower this past weekend. I agreed, of course, because I would really like to start catering events. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what kind of cupcake I should bake so that I would please everyone and still have an appropriate cupcake. My mom’s original idea was a margarita cupcake, which I immediately shot down. That would just be wrong. And then a friend of mine passed on a link she found to snickerdoodle cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. I decided that these were perfect, with the exception of the frosting because I just don’t like cream cheese. Snickerdoodles are my favorite cookie, so I was drawn to these cupcakes immediately. I decided to make a cinnamon buttercream, which turned out fantastically. Luckily, I was able to box a few up and take them back to school with me. So apparently cupcakes can survive a 3 hour drive! Everyone at the shower loved them and my friends at school that got one of the extras loved them as well. And if you’re going to make these, you better love cinnamon because your kitchen will definitely smell like it and it’s what these cupcakes are all about.


Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Makes 18 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups cake flour (or add 1 tbsp cornstarch per cup of all purpose flour)

1/2 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup milk


Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon; set aside. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and then vanilla, beating until smooth. Slowly add flour and milk, alternating between dry and wet, starting and ending with dry. Mix until well incorporated. Scoop batter into a lined muffin tin. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.


For the frosting:

3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup butter, room temperature

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1-2 tbsp milk

1 tbsp cinnamon


In a medium bowl, combine butter and powdered sugar until well combined. Add vanilla and 1 tbsp milk. Begin adding cinnamon until you reach the desired taste. Add milk until you reach the desired consistency. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes. If you want, sprinkle cinnamon sugar over top of the cupcakes.




A Brief Update September 14, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — kward23 @ 11:42 am

So it’s really hard to find time to bake while I’m at school. I apologize for the incredible lack of cupcakes. But have no fear, another one is coming this weekend! I’m catering my first event, a baby shower for my mother’s cousin. I was, of course, volunteered for this by my mother, but it will be nice to cater something small before I try anything bigger. I’m making snickerdoodle cupcakes with cinnamon frosting. Delicious, right? I’m pretty excited. As far as baking at school goes, I’m not sure when I’ll have time to do it again. I’m also running out of ideas. So I’m asking for your help. I need ideas of something I can bake, but it can’t require too much. I have most of the required tools, but the ingredients are usually the problem. I would love to make something that will please absolutely everyone as well. So for me, that means nothing nutty. So please, please, please post some suggestions! I’ll do my best to make everything.


Cupcake 8: Neapolitan September 6, 2011

Filed under: Recipes,Uncategorized — kward23 @ 10:15 am

So I’ve never really been into the whole neapolitan ice cream thing, but I really do enjoy some good chocolate covered strawberries.To be quite honest, my inspiration for this one didn’t come from something I found on the internet, as usual, or something I really enjoy. The inspiration for this cupcake actually came from my most recent trip to Wal-Mart. I was wandering around the store trying to find some sort of inspiration for cupcakes to bake over the long weekend and I (almost) ran into the giant Oreo display. Apparently Nabisco is now making what they call a triple double neapolitan Oreo. It’s 3 vanilla Oreo cookies layered with both chocolate and strawberry fillings. And it looks delicious. So I decided after seeing those that I would make these cupcakes. I would have loved to do a strawberry filling instead of chocolate, but seeing as I don’t have a food processor in my dorm, I’d have to stick with a chocolate filling to avoid using jam or jelly. I ended up making vanilla cake, using the same recipe from the raspberry lemon cupcakes I made a few weeks ago, which turned out quite fantastically. I then made a dark chocolate ganache and then a strawberry frosting. I did manage to find strawberry extract at Wal-Mart (they really do sell everything!) so that I could make the strawberry frosting. I also decided to do a small garnish on these, consisting of a strawberry slice and, as usual, a drizzle of the leftover ganache. They were absolutely delicious and my friends here in Kent love me even more than before. I’m also getting on the good side of the RA’s.


Neapolitan Cupcakes

Makes 14 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 cups flour

4 eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 F. Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and beat until pale and smooth. Scoop batter into lined muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely before filling and frosting.


For the ganache:

1 bag (10-11 oz) chocolate chips (milk or dark will work)

1 cup heavy whipping cream


In a double boiler, combine chocolate chips and cream and stir until completely combined and smooth. Let cool for a few minutes, then pour into squeeze bottles. (A half batch of this would also be okay. I just like to have extra to eat.) Insert tip of squeeze bottle into cupcakes, squeezing until chocolate begins to ooze out of the top. Be careful to not overfill.


For the frosting:

3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 teaspoons strawberry extract

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Pink or red food coloring


In a large bowl, combine powdered sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, strawberry extract, and 1 tablespoon milk. Add extra milk as needed to obtain desired consistency. Add just a little bit of pink or red food coloring to achieve desired color. I went with pink to give it the color of strawberry ice cream. Spread or pipe frosting onto cupcakes.

If desired, slice fresh strawberries to garnish cupcakes. Finish by drizzling cupcakes with leftover ganache.




Cupcake 7: Root beer Float August 27, 2011

Filed under: Recipes,Uncategorized — kward23 @ 1:53 am

Today was my first day baking in the kitchen in my dorm building. It wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be, but it’s still two floors up from my room. And I have a lot of stuff that I can’t leave unattended. Also, there was no timer on the oven. I had to use the microwave timer, so any cupcakes I post for the next few months might have the times listed a little off because this is the weirdest oven ever. No worries though, I plan on baking about twice a month, which is a bit slower than I’ve done so far, but I’m in college. I have a life that doesn’t always give me time to bake. Anyways, on to today’s cupcake!

If you don’t like root beer floats, there must be something slightly wrong with you. I can’t get enough of the strong flavor of root beer mixed with creamy vanilla ice cream. And I just love root beer in general. In fact, I’m sitting here with a bottle of it as I’m writing this. I tried to make a root beer cake once before, but it was basically just taking root beer and using that instead of water for a box mix. It didn’t taste like root beer at all. So, I’ve been searching the internet (which, in my opinion, is the best way to find new cupcakes) for a better recipe. And I found it. I altered it a little because the original recipe calls for chocolate cake, but I’m hesitant to pair chocolate and root beer. I also decided to make mini cupcakes, so I didn’t fill them like the original recipe called for. But they’re still absolutely adorable and delicious. I ended up making a root beer cake that doesn’t actually taste like root beer, it just uses it in the recipe (yes, it’s the recipe for cherry limeade cake but with root beer instead). I then made a root beer frosting. This frosting belongs on every cake ever made. It’s delicious. (Thanks go to Jessica over at The recipe for the frosting, which I ended up altering slightly, can be found here. Make sure your audience likes root beer because this cupcake is absolutely full of it!


Root Beer Float Cupcakes

Makes 45 mini cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

2 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 cup root beer, whatever brand you prefer

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs


Preheat oven to 350 F. Beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until well combined. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add about 1/3 of the dry mixture until well combined, then about half of the root beer. Continue adding, alternating between dry and wet, ending with dry. Scoop batter into cupcake cups. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.


For the frosting:

1 1/2 sticks butter, softened

3-4 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 tablespoons milk

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon root beer extract


Cream butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time (I ended up using 3 cups, not 4, so use your best judgment here). Add milk and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add root beer extract, starting with 1/4 teaspoon, then adding until you reach the desired flavor. Be careful, this stuff is quite strong. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes.




And here’s a whole tray of them! Aren’t they adorable?



Cupcake 6: Chocolate Malt August 22, 2011

Filed under: Recipes,Uncategorized — kward23 @ 4:32 pm

On a hot summer day, there really isn’t anything better than some cold ice cream. Whether it’s on a cone, in a bowl, a milkshake, you name it, it’s delicious. And it gets better when you add malt powder. There’s just something about a chocolate malt that satisfies every single one of your tastebuds. And who doesn’t love malted milk balls? They just melt in your mouth. These cupcakes will do exactly that. The chocolate malt frosting tastes just like a chocolate malt shake. I’d eat it by the bowl, and that’s saying a lot because I’m not really a huge fan of frosting. I got the recipe out of a Betty Crocker cupcake book, which had it paired with a yellow cake that had crushed malted milk balls mixed in. While that combination is delicious (not to mention fun to make), I opted out of that cake and decided to make a milk chocolate cake instead. The next choice was a tough one. I had a frosting and I had a cake, but that was it. What else could I possibly do with these? I almost made chocolate ganache to drizzle over them. Then I thought about dunking them in chocolate ganache to really make them like malted milk balls. Then I finally settled on making mini cupcakes and putting a malted milk ball on the top of each one. I had a vision, and boy was it a cute one. One of my lovely taste testers actually suggested making them in ice cream cones, which I would have done if they were easier to transport. And if I wasn’t so lazy. I’ll save that idea for a special occasion. Anyways, these cupcakes turned out exactly how I wanted them to and everyone loved them!


Chocolate Malt Cupcakes

Makes 16 regular cupcakes, about 60 mini cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 eggs

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup milk


Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well with each. Add in vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt. Add about 1/3 of the dry mixture into the butter/sugar/egg mixture. Then add about 1/2 of the milk. Continue adding, alternating between dry and wet, ending with dry. Scoop batter into lined muffin tins. Bake 12-15 minutes for mini cupcakes, 18-22 for regular cupcakes. Cool completely before frosting.


For the frosting:

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened

2 tablespoons malted milk powder

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

2 tablespoons milk


In a large bowl, beat all ingredients together until smooth. Pipe or spread frosting onto cupcakes. Top each cupcake with a malted milk ball (or ganache if you really want. Just use the ganache recipe from the butterbeer cupcakes, replacing butterscotch chips with chocolate).




This is about half of the cupcakes I made: maltedmilk1