S’mores Cupcakes

Originally posted April 16, 2012

My favourite thing about summer is obvious – campfires! And why, might you ask, do I love them? S’mores, of course. It’s not quite campfire weather yet though, so I’ve found a recipe to enjoy S’mores (and cupcakes!) throughout the rest of the year!

Now, I’ll be a first to admit that these did not turn out as I’d hoped. They were nowhere near as beautiful as the photos on theoriginal recipewould lead you to believe (but I’ve a solution for that, so fear not) and they weren’t as chocolatey as I would have liked, considering that they’re S’mores cupcakes. I think that the next time I make these, I’ll go with what was my initial gut instinct to fill them with chocolate rather than use chocolate chips in the cupcakes. Nevertheless, they were pretty tasty and a nice change from the usual. Not to mention, they’re so simple!

For the cupcakes, you’ll need:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup milk
1 cup chocolate chips
1-2 cups mini marshmallows
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a regular muffin pan with liners, as this recipe yields 12 cupcakes. In a large bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder and salt. Set the bowl aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter, oil and sugar. Beat until well combined and smooth and then add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Next, alternately add portions of the dry mixture and the milk to the butter mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips and then fill the muffin pan with the batter.

At this point, the original recipe would have you pour a few mini marshmallows over the batter and then bake the cupcakes 18-20 minutes. However, I found that the marshmallows puffed up as the recipe indicated they would, and then melted everywhere because it was simply too long for them to be in the oven. So I’d suggest that you bake the cupcakes 10 or so minutes and then top them with marshmallows and continue baking for the remainder of the time. This should ensure that the marshmallows puff up and brown but don’t just turn into a melted (albeit tasty) mess. Also, as I mentioned briefly earlier, and because of my personal preference, I’d likely omit the chocolate chips in the future and instead fill the cupcakes with a chocolate ganache or fudge or something instead.

The great thing about these cupcakes is that, had they turned out, the marshmallows look so nice that you don’t really need icing. Mine weren’t quite as beautiful as I’d have liked, however, so I melted some butterscotch chips and drizzled butterscotch on each cupcake.

Let me know how you like these, should you try them yourself! Perhaps, like me, you’ll find that these cupcakes are the perfect solution to having S’mores year-round!

DIY Cake Topper

Originally posted April 5, 2012 (This is an Easter themed post, but the same idea would apply for any cake topper you wanted to make)

Happy Easter! With Easter looming on the horizon, I needed a cake for the big family dinner – and no ordinary cake, mind you. Something special. After seeing a video on Youtube, I knew just what my cake needed – a white chocolate Easter bunny topper.

Not only did this cake topper look great, it was so simple to make! Much simpler than your friends and family will care to believe, trust me! In fact, I’m going to tell you exactly how you can do it yourself (or any other topper you wish, really).  The steps are as easy as can be:

1. The first thing you’ll need to do for this bunny cake topper is find a relatively simple bunny image (Google Images works wonders for this) and print it.
2. Tape the image to a cookie sheet, making sure that it is laying perfectly flat and will not be moving around on you.
3. Tape a layer of waxed paper over the image (this is going to be your working surface, so make sure it’s secure). You’ll want to use waxed paper because you can see through it to see the outline of your image.
4. Melt white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.
5. Let the chocolate cool just slightly – you want it to still be liquid, but you don’t want to burn yourself if it’s too hot.
6. Prepare a decorating bag with a small round tip, and then fill the icing bag with the white chocolate.
7. Follow the outline of your bunny, tracing it with the white chocolate.
8. Fill in the remainder of the bunny (once I’d done this, I also used a spoon to smooth out the chocolate a bit. I still wanted some texture, but not quite as much as filling in the bunny left)
9. Decorate if desired – I added some mini marshmallows for a fluffy tail, and a butterscotch chip for an eye
10. Allow to cool and harden (I put it in the freezer – it doesn’t take long, and will keep overnight for use later if desired)
11. Position on the cake, and voila (I stood it up in icing and found that it remained quite stable).

Easy as can be, right? And it looks pretty nice on that cake! (Which I’ll be telling you about in a couple of days, once I have photos of the inside, because there is quite a surprise in there awaiting you! You can subscribe to the RSS feed to find out about that post ASAP) This can be done in smaller versions for cupcakes, and of course you can use any image for any time of year. This process can also be done with buttercream icing to make an icing transfer by simply allowing each colour and layer of buttercream to freeze entirely before moving on to the next layer of colour.

Try out your own cake toppers and leave a comment about how it works!

Chocolate Ganache – Filled Red Velvet Cupcakes

Originally posted Feb 21, 2012 (and still the BEST red velvet I’ve had to date!)
Growing up, my sister and I didn’t always get along, but now that we’ve grown up I think you could probably go so far as to even call us friends. So, when she asked if I’d make a cake for her 20th birthday, I was more than happy to oblige (after first having a mid-life crisis because my baby sister is 20, which makes me just plain old).

She requested Red Velvet, which I realize I’ve already mentioned in a previous post. However, these were not just basic Red Velvet cupcakes. They were filled with chocolate ganache, and were made with a different recipe than the previous cupcakes. If you read my last post, you’ll notice that the recipe I used came from Baking With The Cake Boss, and while the cupcakes were definitely red, they were also pretty bland. For these cupcakes, I used a recipe found in Cupcake Diaries(at this point I feel the need to mention that I have still yet to watch Cake Boss, and also that I’ve never seen DC Cupcakes either – Cupcake Diaries was referred to me). This is the third Red Velvet recipe I’ve used to date, and it’s probably my favourite. Here are the ganache, cupcake, and icing recipes!

What I instead wanted to talk about was filling cupcakes! I’ve done this a few times now, and have used two different methods. The first was simply using a Wilton 230 decorating tip to penetrate the cupcake and fill it with the filling of choice. I’m not partial to this method because you cant tell how much you’ve put into the cupcake, and therefore there is often too little filling as opposed to too much in order to avoid the cupcake breaking. I found that the majority of the filling ended up being absorbed into the cupcake this way because there was so little of it.

Recently, however, I purchased a cupcake corer from Golda’s Kitchen. This is what I used when making my sister’s cupcakes, and it made filling them a very easy, straightforward process. All you need to do is:

1. Bake cupcakes of choice, as per insturctions
2. Allow cupcakes to cool (you don’t want to core them while they’re too warm or you’ll risk breaking the cupcake)

3. Position corer over centre of cupcake and gently push downward
4. Once corer has been inserted into the cupcake, twist the corer back and forth to cut the inside of the cupcake
5. Remove corer from cupcake, and remove cupcake centre from corer

And voila, cored cupcakes, ready to be filled. If you’re using the ganache, like I did, you’ll want to make sure it’s cooled before filling the cupcakes. Once they’re filled as desire, ice your cupcakes and enjoy!

Simple Chocolate Ganache

 


This recipe is pretty simple and makes a great filling for cupcakes/cakes or as a glaze on your favourite desserts! I found the original on All Recipes, however the original called for bittersweet chocolate and I opted to use semi-sweet instead, and chose not to add the suggested rum. It was delicious!

1 cup heavy cream
9 oz semi-sweet bakers chocolate, finely chopped (if you’re using chocolate bakers squares this is 9 squares)

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm cream until just boiling – do not over boil. Remove cream from heat and pour over finely chopped chocolate in a separate bowl. Whisk the cream and chocolate together until all of the chocolate has melted into the cream. Allow to cool slightly for use as a glaze, or cool completely and then beat for use as filling.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes and Buttercream Roses

Originally posted Feb. 7, 2012

I’m going to be completely honest about a couple things:
1. I love peanut butter
2. I have no self-control when it comes to baked goods

Only the first point is relevant to this post, but the second is important because I just feel better admitting it. Its like a weight is lifted.

Moving along, what I wanted to talk about today was not only my absolute favourite cupcakes, but also butter cream roses.

I stumbled on a great video on YouTube, sort of by accident, and it was a pretty clear tutorial about how to pipe butter cream roses, something which, until this point, I hadn’t even fathomed trying. The video made it look pretty easy though, and I decided I wanted to learn. This required cupcakes, because who needs icing roses with no cupcake? No one.

This brings me to the peanut butter cupcakes. My absolute favourite cupcakes. Without a doubt the best things of my life. So I thought I’d share the recipe with you, which I originally found on the Wilton website. To make the cupcakes, you’ll need:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
6 tbsp butter, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract (the original recipe calls for clear vanilla, but I prefer pure vanilla extract, it has a nicer flavour)
1 cup milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and either line a muffin pan with cups or spray it with non-stick baking spray and set it aside. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set it aside once they’re combined. In a large bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, and peanut butter. Once the mixture is smooth, add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract. Next, alternately add the milk and the flour mixture until all of the ingredients are combined. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, and bake for 20-25 minutes, checking that they’re done (use a cake tester or a tooth pick, if it comes out clean they’re ready!).

Once my cupcakes were ready, I used my new-found rose-making savvy to pipe butter cream roses. I used a chocolate butter cream icing because there is something irresistible about peanut butter and chocolate. Some of the roses were piped onto parchment paper squares on a flower nail, while I piped others directly onto the cupcakes. While they were by no means perfect, they turned out pretty well for a first attempt. There are some great tutorials on YouTube that you can look at to try yourself!