Red Velvet Cupcakes #1

My sister is getting married next August.  We’re on a mission to find THE best Red Velvet Cake recipe.  I think this one is it, but she’s not convinced.  She’s going to have to recreate perfection if she is going to top this one.  I hope she accepts the challenge!  In short, over the next year, you may see several Red Velvet recipes, but in the end, the best shall be named.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

2¼ cups cake flour
1½ teaspoons baking soda
Pinch salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder, not dutch processed
2 tablespoons red food coloring
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups granulated sugar

Frosting
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
16 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces, softened
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch salt

1. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, and eggs in large measuring cup. Mix cocoa with food coloring in small bowl until a smooth paste forms.

2. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as necessary. Add one-third of flour mixture and beat on medium-low speed until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add half of buttermilk mixture and beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl as necessary and repeat with half of remaining flour mixture, remaining buttermilk mixture, and finally remaining flour mixture. Scrape down bowl, add cocoa mixture, and beat on medium speed until completely incorporated, about 30 seconds. Using rubber spatula, give batter final stir. Scrape into prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes then turn out onto rack to cool completely, at least 30 minutes.

3. For the frosting: With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Beat in vanilla and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.

4. When cakes are cooled, spread about 2 cups frosting on one cake layer. Top with second cake layer and spread top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 3 days.

Almond Joy Cupcakes

Did I miss it?  Am I too late?  

It’s still November 4th somewhere in the US, right?

National Candy Day!  And one of my favorite candies! Almond Joy!

This was truly a labor of love.  I want to document this recipe not because it’s a good cupcake (actually, it really wasn’t), but because it was the most harrowing experience.  Have you ever made something and the baking/cooking gods just were totally against you the whole time?  I bring you my worst baking experience of all time–

First, the first recipe I tried was a TOTAL fail.  I should have taken a picture.

Then, I thought I’d try again with a tried and true favorite, Martha Stewart, but I was out of eggs.  A few months ago, I went through this vegan thing so I had egg replacement stuff.  I thought, what the heck I’ll give it a try.  So, I made three eggs worth of this Ener-G stuff.  

Next, when I was pouring the dried ingredients in, I spilled half of it on my counter.

If that wasn’t enough, my mixer paddle got stuck on my standing mixer and when I yanked it off, I totally punched myself in the stomach, and got chocolate all over my shirt.

Then, when I called my sister to complain about these stupid cupcakes, I realized I was doubling the recipe, and so, I should have put in 6 eggs, not three.

Another failed attempt.

Finally, after a trip to the Grocery store, and sleeping children, I made the cutest darn cupcake I ever saw.

So, finally, things seemed like they were going my way.  The cupcakes looked good, so surely, they must taste good too.  Unfortunately, they’re not the best.  Will I make them again?  No.

Next time, I’ll buy a bag of Almond Joys and call it a day.

Almond Joy Cupcakes

Adapted from sources including Martha Stewart and Ina Garten

Cupcake:

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 C shredded coconut

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. Into a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour.
  3. Pour batter into cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely  
Ganache
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 C Heavy Cream
1 Tb corn syrup
Put chopped chocolate in a heat safe bowl.  Heat heavy cream in a sauce pan until simmering.  Pour over chocolate and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes.  Whisk until smooth, add corn syrup.  Place in fridge until thickened and pipeable.
Coconut Frosting
  • 1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

 

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

I told you not to be surprised.  I have no self-control.

I saw these on Sunday, and couldn’t get them off my brain.

I am on a Pumpkin Spice binge.  I can’t get enough of it.  Maybe I’m pregnant.  No, I’m not.

The funny thing about all this Pumpkin Spice nonsense is that I have yet to have the REAL deal.  I went to Starbucks with the intent on diving in a few weeks ago, but THEN I saw the Salted Caramel Mocha, and well, if you read my post on Salted Caramel Brownies, then you can imagine what happened.

These cupcakes are great as muffins, but even better as a cupcake.  And we all know, a muffin is just a cupcake in disguise.  They are based off of William Sonoma’s Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes.  William Sonoma is like  a foodie’s paradise.  I mean, doesn’t everyone need a Quick Pop Character Design tool kit?  

I’m wondering what will catch my eye next.  I’m a little scared.  Darn you, Pinterest!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

from AnnieEats, adapted from William Sonoma

 

Yield: about 2 dozen cupcakes
Ingredients:
For the cupcakes:
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. espresso powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 large eggs
½ cup coffee or espresso, for brushing

 

For the whipped cream:
2¼ cups heavy cream, chilled
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

 

For garnish:
Ground cinnamon
Caramel sauce

 

Directions:
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.  Stir together and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  With the mixture on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing just until incorporated.

 

Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full.  Bake until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pans.  While the cupcakes are still warm, brush them two or three times with the coffee or espresso, allowing the first coat to soak in before repeating.  Let cool completely.

 

To make the frosting, place the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whip on medium-low speed at first, gradually increasing to high speed.  Blend in the confectioners’ sugar gradually.  Whip until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over-beat.  Use a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip to frost the cooled cupcakes.  Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and drizzle with caramel sauce.  Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.