Bacon Blueberry Pancake Cupcakes

Originally posted March 30, 2012 (Looking at this post again makes me wish I hadn’t become vegetarian in July, the cupcakes were AMAZING!)

While flipping through The Cupcake Diaries early this week, a recipe caught my eye – Bacon Blueberry Pancake Cupcakes. I wasn’t sure whether to cringe or not because I’d never considered bacon as a cupcake ingredient. My curiosity got the better of me though, and I knew that I had to try these cupcakes, if for no other reason than to discover whether or not they were as gross as a little part of me imagined they could be (for the record, they were most definitely not gross).

I was not exactly sure what to expect with these. They had the potential to go one of two ways – delicious, or disgusting. They fared on the delicious side, as I was pleasantly surprised to find. The flavours go surprisingly well together, the cupcakes stay moist due to the maple syrup in them, and the salty bacon is offset nicely by the sweet blueberries. I highly recommend that you all give these a try! And, in hindsight, considering my love of breakfast foods, I’m not sure how I could have doubted these little gems.

This recipe will make you 24 cupcakes, for which you’ll need:
6 slices maple bacon
1 3/4 cup plus 1 tsp sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or an additional 1-2 tsp vanilla)
1 1/4 cups milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Maple Cream Cheese Icing:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
12 oz cream cheese (1 1/2 sticks)
8 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line muffin pans with baking cups or grease them to avoid sticking. Fry the bacon until very crunchy, sprinkle with the 1tsp of sugar, and then remove from the heat, strain the grease, and chop up into fine bits. Set the bacon aside for use later. Next, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set it aside as well.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly after each. Combine the vanilla, vanilla bean seeds (if using) and milk in a liquid measuring cup. Reduce the mixer speed to low and alternately add the flour and milk mixtures, stopping to scrape the sides as needed. Mix slowly until just combined. Add the maple syrup, mixing slowly. Then, using a spatula, gently fold the bacon bits and blueberries into the batter.

Scoop the batter into baking cups and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool entirely.

For the frosting, combine all the ingredients in the stand mixer and beat until smooth and well combined. Turn the mixer to high speed for a couple of minutes at the end to get a light, whipped icing. Ice the cooled cupcakes as desired, and voila!

Let me know what you think of these cupcakes! The great thing about them is that, you could conceivably legitimize eating them for breakfast. Bacon, blueberry pancakes, maple syrup, cream cheese – all legitimate breakfast foods. And what could be better for breakfast than dessert? I have yet to discover an answer to that. Maybe you could make these into your Sunday morning family breakfast. I’m sure they’ll thank you for it!

If you’re considering bacon in your dessert, here are a few other options if blueberry isn’t for you (and please let me know the results if you try any of these!):
Maple Bacon Cupcakes
Maple French Toast and Bacon Cupcakes 
Bacon Cupcakes: Sunny Side Up
Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes

Gum Paste Molds – For The Lazy Girl In Us All

Originally posted March 27, 2012
With the exception of the past two days, we’ve been blessed with gorgeous spring weather recently! Taking that into consideration, I used the spring as a theme in a recent cake I made for a school celebration. The cake was my favourite chocolate cake, the recipe for which you can find mentioned a million times in various posts!

What I really wanted to talk about was how simple it was to make this cake, though some of the details look quite intricate. What you’ll take away from this post is not only a simple way to make pretty cakes, but also that I’m a bit lazy (well, not lazy per se, but I sure wouldn’t take the time to craft each flower on my own).

To start, I covered the cake in chocolate buttercream, and the followed that with a layer of fondant. This was a simple marshmallow fondant made from green mini-marshmallows.

Next, I divided gum paste into three sections, colouring them blue, pink, and brown respectively. I’ve come to find that gum paste is much nicer to work with than fondant, so I chose it for the decorations as opposed to the fondant that I’d usually used previously.

Now, here’s the real trick – gum paste molds. They are quite possibly the easiest thing to use, honestly. There are several different Wilton ones to choose from, and I chose a spring themed one. Simply dust the molds with corn starch (I’m sure icing sugar would work well too) and then push the gum paste into the molds. Carefully remove the gum paste and trim any areas that may need trimming. Voila, easy peasy.

To attach the gum paste, I used a small brush and sum water but you can of course use gum glue. Once the pieces were attached, I painted sugar dust onto the flowers for some extra dimension. The cake was a hit, and I think (despite my protest that it was much easier than it looked) I was given much more credit than necessary for this quick little cake. It really does look like spring in a cake though, and tasted alright too!

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

Originally posted March 25, 2012
Here it is, lovelies: a long awaited (and hopefully much anticipated) post about Pink Lemonade Cupcakes! When I say long awaited, what I mean is that this post is coming to you much later in the week than usual. For that I apologize, but let me tell you that it was completely worth my while to put this post off. I read 1055 pages, or 3 books, over the course of the last three days. That’s the entire Hunger Games trilogy. Worth every minute I put the rest of my tasks on hold.

Having said that, thank you for waiting! I hope that you enjoy these cupcakes as much as I did because they were completely fantastic! I found the original recipe via Pinterest. They stayed extremely moist (although they were a bit sticky) and the glaze was a welcomed change from the usual vast amounts of frosting. These were also a great way to welcome the warm weather we’ve been having. I’m generally against using cake mix, but for these I’ve made an exception!

For the cupcakes, you’ll need:

1 package lemon cake mix
1 package instant lemon pudding mix
4 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup pink lemonade concentrate
4 drops pink food colour (optional)
Additional 1 cup pink lemonade concentrate
1/2 cup sugar

For the glaze, you’ll need:
1/4 cup butter
2 cups icing sugar
2 tbsp cream
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two muffin pans with paper liners. In a large bowl, combine the cake and pudding mixes, eggs, vegetable oil, milk, food colour, and first portion (1/2 cup) of lemonade concentrate. Beat all of the ingredients together and then pour into the prepared muffin pans. Bake for approximately 20 minutes.

Once the cupcakes are baked, and have cooled ever so slightly, combine the second portion of lemonade concentrate and the sugar. Poke holes, using a fork, in the surface of the cupcakes and then pour the sugar and lemonade mixture over the cupcakes so that the liquid enters the holes in the cupcakes. This will keep the cupcakes extremely moist (although fair warning, they will be sticky).

Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, prepare the glaze. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once it is completely melted, pour the butter over the icing sugar in a large bowl. Add the cream and then beat the ingredients together until smooth, adding the vanilla if desired. Spread a thin layer of the glaze over the cupcakes.

Once the cupcakes are ready, enjoy! They are the perfect summer cupcake. They’re a little bit sweet and a little bit refreshing and a lot delicious. This was my first time making a glaze for any sort of cake so I was happy with how it turned out, and I’ll definitely be adding these Pink Lemonade Cupcakes to my recipe book!

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

Originally posted March 15, 2012 (Originally titled Irish Carbomb Cupcakes, but apparently car bombing was a big problem in Ireland and the name sparked some issues for readers. To be fair, I didn’t come up with the name, it was based on the alcoholic beverage by the same name).

In honour of St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to make something a little festive this week – namely, Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes. Fair warning, however, that these are probably not suitable for children. If you’re familiar with Irish Car Bombs (an alcoholic beverage), you’ll understand why. If not, I’ll take a second here to explain. An Irish Car Bomb is a shot consisting of Bailey’s Irish Cream and Irish Whiskey that is dropped into a glass of Guinness and chugged. From what I’ve been told, it is smooth and delicious if you drink it fast enough, but can curdle if you take too long. These cupcakes are based on this particular beverage, which doesn’t quite sound delicious to me in beverage format, but let me tell you that in dessert it’s a fantastic combination.

I was lucky enough to stumble upon this recipe while on Pinterest a few days ago, and you can find the original recipe on a fantastic blog, Brown Eyed Baker, but I’ll also be sharing it with you below so that you can experience these delightful cupcakes (I’ll be sure to mention the slight variations I used)! The Guiness in the chocolate cupcakes keeps them moist and delicious and provides only the subtlest flavour. The faint hint of Irish Whiskey in the chocolate ganache is a perfect offset to the chocolate, and the Bailey’s Butter Cream icing is buttery and smooth and outstanding.  These cupcakes also got rave reviews from those who tried them, so without further adieu:

For the cupcakes, you’ll need:
1 cup Guiness Stout (I used Guiness Draught rather than the Stout, as Stout generally has a stronger flavour that I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy – and they didn’t have any Stout when I shopped for ingredients)
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

For the chocolate ganache, you’ll need:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate ( I used half unsweetened chocolate, and half semi-sweet chocolate rather than bittersweet)
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
2 tsp Irish Whiskey

For the Bailey’s Butter Cream, you’ll need:
2 cups butter, room temperature
5 cups icing sugar
6 tbsp Bailey’s Irish Cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pans with 24 baking cups. Bring the Guiness and butter to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, and add the cocoa powder. Whisk the mixture until smooth and then allow to cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl and then set it aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the sour cream and eggs until combined. Add the Guiness chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, beating briefly to combine the ingredients. Using a spatula, fold the batter to ensure everything is combined. Divide the mixture evenly among the baking cups and bake the cupcakes for approximately 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.

To make the ganache, finely chop the chocolate and place it in a heat proof bowl. In a saucepan, heat the cream until it comes to a boil and allow it to simmer for about a minute. Remove the cream from the stove and pour over the chocolate. Stir the chocolate and cream until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Add in the whiskey and butter and combine well. Let the ganache cool until thick but smooth enough to pipe.

To make the frosting, cream together the butter and icing sugar on medium speed and then add in the Bailey’s. Whip until light and fluffy.

Using a cupcake corer, remove the centres of the cupcakes, and fill with chocolate ganache. Follow with the buttercream icing and decorate as desired.

And voila, delicious Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes. Be sure to subscribe to the blog and check out the Facebook and Twitter pages for updates!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Maple Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Originally posted March 13, 2012

I don’t know about you, but I love this time of year – the sun is shining, the temperature is rising, cupcakes in the oven, and spring is on its way. In my family this means one thing – syrup season. As I have cousins who have a sugar bush, I’ve grown up knowing that this time of year means fresh,  pure maple syrup. In honour of this marvelous time of year, I decided to make maple cupcakes.I’d never made (or even tried) maple cupcakes before this experience, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Don’t get me wrong, I do love maple syrup but thus far I’d only had it with pancakes, waffles and so on, but never in cake. I found a recipe in The Cupcake Diaries, however, and it seemed fitting for a first attempt. The recipe was for maple chocolate chip cupcakes, which is posted below. It also suggested a chocolate ganache frosting, however I didn’t have any heavy cream and opted for the maple cream cheese icing instead.

I knew while they were baking that the cupcakes were going to be good, as there was an incredible scent filling the kitchen as they were nearing the end of their baking time (which I found to be a little longer than the recipe indicated – about 21 minutes rather than 18-20). Wanting to get the full experience of the cupcakes, I tried on before they were iced just to experience the cake on its own. The maple syrup ensured that the cupcakes stayed extremely moist while baking, and provided a delicious flavour.

Next was the icing. It was a basic cream cheese recipe, but had an added 1/4 cup of maple syrup. While it was a nice icing, it was extremely sweet. And when I say extremely, I mean it. It was basically a sugar coma in the making, but tasty nonetheless. And cake is cake, so who am I to complain? I do think I’ll make sure to have heavy cream on hand next time though to try them with the ganache frosting instead.

Recipe:

The book says that this recipe yields 12 cupcakes, however I found that it made 24.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
seeds from one vanilla been (or an additional 1-2 tsp vanilla extract)
1 1/4 cups whole milk, room temperature
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line two cupcake pans with baking cups, or grease and prepare pans. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set the dry ingredients aside. Place the unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and add the sugar. Beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition.
Combine vanilla, vanilla seeds (if using), and milk in a large liquid measuring cup. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture and milk mixture alternately, scraping the bowl as needed. Mix until just combined. Add in the maple syrup and mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips. Fill muffin pans and bake 18-20 minutes.

 

Enjoy!