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  1. Wednesday, January 13

    Easy Ladybug Cupcakes

    Today I wanted to share the easy ladybug cupcakes I made for Cate’s birthday. One of my “things” as a mom is making fun birthday cakes for my kids, but this year Anna simply wanted a cake made out of donuts and Cate wanted chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing. While I was a little disappointed to not be making more elaborate cakes, I will admit it was a nice break, especially one week before Christmas.

    Quick tutorial for easy ladybug cupcakes from @janemaynard

    Then, the day of her birthday, Cate informed me that she wanted ladybug cupcakes. I was like, “Uh, what?” I was completely unprepared, but really wanted to come through for her. Luckily I had some red cupcake liners and a pack of candy eyes in the cabinet and was able to pull these off!

    Quick tutorial for easy ladybug cupcakes from @janemaynard

    These ladybug cupcakes are seriously EASY.

    • Cook the cupcakes in red or black cupcake papers.
    • Make a batch of buttercream frosting. Color about 2/3 of it with red food coloring (you’ll need a lot of food color!). Color the rest of the buttercream with black food coloring.
    • Frost the cupcakes with red buttercream using a butter knife, spreading the frosting on smoothly (doesn’t have to be perfect!).
    • Place the black frosting in a piping bag with a small, round tip. Pipe on the outline of the wings, the polka dots, and a head, as shown in the diagram below.
    • Finish off the ladybug with small candy eyes placed on the black icing piped on as the head, right at the edge of the cupcake.

    How to decorate easy ladybug cupcakes from @janemaynard

    I was able to knock these cupcakes out no problem, and the design is so simple even the non-artistic among us can pull it off.

    Click here to get the recipes I used for the chocolate cake and buttercream frosting. (Feel free to use a cake mix, I’m not keeping track!)

    Happy decorating!


  2. Wednesday, April 28

    Chocolate Cupcakes and AMAZING Strawberry Icing

    When I was getting ready for the Cambria Cove post, I wanted to make something “cute” for the purpose of showing off my cake stands. I had these cute white paper cup thingys, so I decided to go with cupcakes. I made the batter then realized the papers I had bought were not for baking. My muffin tins are packed away somewhere, so I was left with 1 mini muffin tin and no papers. Needless to say the cupcakes were a pain in the patootey to bake, and by the time I got around to icing and photographing, I was over it! So, my cupcakes aren’t that cute. But they ARE delicious. So I have to share them anyway! (PS…if you don’t have cupcake liners, don’t make cupcakes!)

    mini chocolate cupcakes 1 web

    Have you ever seen the Cupcake Bakeshop blog by Cheryl the software quality engineer, aka Chockylit? It was one of the very first blogs I ever laid eyes on and I’ve loved it from day 1. I used one of her recipes and I loved everything about it – the cake itself came out great, and this strawberry frosting? Be still my beating heart…it is perfect. PER. FECT.

    The original post for this recipe is great – Cheryl provides detailed explanations as to why you want to perform each step of the recipe. It’s a very handy post. Thanks, Cheryl! (P.S. You have to read her bio…I love her completely non-cupcake related background!)

    chocolate cupcakes 2 web

    Chocolate Cupcakes
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 2 sticks of butter (room temp)
    • 2½ cups sugar
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1¾ C flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • ½ tsp. baking soda
    • ¼ tsp. salt
    • 1 C cocoa powder
    • 1 C milk
    • 2 tsp. vanilla
    Instructions
    1. Beat the butter until it's all nice and whipped. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy...as in for a long time, so the butter is completely incorporated into the sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
    2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. (Cheryl mentions that whisking will suffice over sifting...but my cocoa was all lumpy, so I wish I had thrown at least the cocoa through the sifter quickly...just keep an eye out for that problem in your cocoa.)
    3. Mix the milk and vanilla.
    4. Add the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the butter mixture - alternating and beating between each addition, about 3 cycles.
    5. Scoop batter into cupcake tins (with liners!!) or those uber-cute cupcake papers that Cheryl uses that I can't wait to get my hands on. ONLY FILL THEM HALF WAY. Bake for 22-25 minutes at 350, or until tester comes out clean. (Obviously my mini cupcakes baked a little shorter than that.)

    I made two kinds of icing, halving each recipe. This is exactly what I made – feel free to double these measurements if you decide to just do one flavor.
    AMAZING Strawberry Icing
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 1 stick butter (room temp)
    • 1½ - 2 C powdered sugar
    • ⅛ C strawberry puree (I had some pretty big strawberries - ⅛ C was a little less than one giant strawberry all smooshed up)
    Instructions
    1. Beat butter until soft. Sift in the powder sugar and beat. Add strawberry and mix. Add more powdered sugar if you need it. Seriously...this frosting ROCKS.
    2. This is about enough frosting for one-half standard batch of cupcakes.

    White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 3 oz white chocolate
    • 4 oz cream cheese
    • ⅛ C butter (room temp)
    • 1 C powdered sugar
    Instructions
    1. Melt chocolate and set aside to cool. Beat cream cheese and butter together. Add chocolate and beat. Sift in powdered sugar and beat for a long while.
    2. This makes about enough frosting for one-half standard batch of cupcakes.

     


  3. Friday, February 12

    Life by Chocolate Cupcakes from The Pioneer Woman

    Once Valentine’s Day is over, I’ll let you eat dinner again.  But I’m going to force you to have a little more chocolate today. Sorry. I know it’s torture.

    rachel's desserts web

    For our Super Bowl shindig last week, my friend Rachel made cupcakes in addition to the homemade oreos I shared with you yesterday. I love these cupcakes. We all kept debating back and forth about which we liked better – cupcakes, oreos, cupcakes, oreos. It was a close race, but these chocolate-packed cups of heaven won.

    The cupcake recipe is from The Pioneer Woman. As always, she provides beautiful step-by-step photos. Everything about these cupcakes is great. The actual cake part in and of itself is fantastic. The Hershey kiss hiding inside…oo la la! And the ganache icing…to die for.

    A few quick notes.

    • Rachel said the recipe made a TON of ganache, enough for a double batch of cupcakes.
    • The cupcakes are really heavenly served warm. Since Rachel had made them the day before, when we were ready to indulge, we put the cupcakes in a 250-degree oven for 7 minutes. They came out PERFECTLY.

    life by chocolate cupcakes2 web

    Life by Chocolate Cupcakes from The Pioneer Woman
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • Cupcakes
    • 2 cups Sugar
    • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
    • ¼ teaspoons Salt
    • ½ cups Buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk on hand, put ½ TBSP of lemon juice or vinegar in your ½ cup, fill the rest with milk and let it sit for 5 minutes)
    • 2 whole Eggs
    • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
    • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
    • 1 Cup Butter
    • 4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa Powder
    • 1 cup Water, Boiling
    • 18 whole Hershey’s Kisses, Unwrapped
    • Ganache
    • 8 ounces, weight Bittersweet Chocolate
    • 1 cup Heavy Cream
    • 6 Tablespoons Corn Syrup
    • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 18 muffin cups with baking spray.
    2. To make the cake batter, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Set aside.
    3. In a separate container, combine buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir to combine and set aside.
    4. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and stir to combine. Add boiling water, allow to bubble for a few seconds, then turn off heat.
    5. Pour chocolate mixture over flour mixture. Stir a few times to cool the chocolate. Pour buttermilk mixture over the top and stir to combine.
    6. Pour ¼ cup cake batter into each muffin cup. Lightly set one kiss in the middle of each cupcake; do not press down.
    7. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove cupcakes and allow to cool on a baking rack.
    8. To make the ganache, heat cream and corn syrup over medium heat. Chop chocolate and add to a bowl. Add vanilla to cream mixture, then pour cream mixture over the top of the chopped chocolate. Whisk together until melted, smooth, and glossy.
    9. Dunk cupcakes in ganache. Allow to cool and set before serving.

    Thanks again to my friend Rachel for spoiling my family with such delicious desserts! And thanks to Ree for a wonderful cupcake recipe! And Happy Valentine’s Day to all!


  4. Wednesday, January 31

    Brownie Cupcakes

    Brownie Cupcakes
     
    From Martha Stewart via Lindsey Johnson
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Serves: 12 brownies
    Ingredients
    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 (11 ounces) package semi-sweet chocolate chips–Trader Joe’s is best
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 cup sugar
    • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
    • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
    • ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
    • ¼-1/2 teaspoon salt (optional, but I think it needs it)
    • 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (walnuts, or pecans)
    • Chocolate frosting (totally optional)
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 count muffin tin with cupcake liners. Spray well with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
    2. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and 8 ounces of chocolate. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat, and set aside. (You can use the microwave, but be VERY careful not to burn the chocolate. Check it after every 30 seconds to a minute and on 50% power.)
    3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs and sugar together until well combined. Add the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the melted butter/chocolate mixture. Stir in remaining 3 ounces of chocolate and nuts.
    4. Using a 2 oz. ice cream scoop, fill cupcake liners ¾ full with batter. Bake until a firm crust forms on the cupcakes, about 20 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool, about 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and continue to cool on a wire rack.
    5. Frost the cupcakes with a generous amount of chocolate frosting. (They are really rich and don’t really need the frosting, but hey–do what YOU like.)