Category Archives: cupcakes

Black Bottom Cupcakes…

You make the rockin’ world go round!

I channeled Freddie Mercury making these cupcakes. πŸ™‚ All afternoon, I was singing about taking them home tonight and enjoying them beside the red firelight and how these sweet treats make the rockin’ world go round. Maybe we should just call these the QUEEN of all cupcakes.

ANYWAY. Black bottom cupcakes that make the rockin’ world go round. What are they and why should you care? Well, maybe they should make whoever came up this idea QUEEN for a day because it is GENIUS. Rich and tender chocolate cake surrounds a sweet, creamy, chocolate-studded cream cheese center.

Um. I’m listening. You had me at cake.

I kind of found this recipe by accident. It was meant to be! Last weekend, I grabbed a different cookbook out of the cabinet where I keep them in a jumbled, messy pile super neat and organized and my Jack Daniel’s book fell out. On my foot, actually. But that’s a different story. After I was done cursing, I looked down to see that the book had fallen open and this recipe for Black Bottom Cupcakes appeared. I picked it up and started reading. Turns out, I had everything I needed to make them on hand, including a bottle of Uncle Jack’s special sauce. Ah! I knew what I was baking that afternoon!

These are super easy to make and a chocolate lovers dream. I loved the warmth and spice the JD adds. The cake part is not overly sweet, so the cupcakes don’t seem super rich with the addition of chocolate chips. My only beef with the recipe is that it says it makes 18 and I only got 13. Yes, I baked one lonely cupcake all by itself in a big old pan. LOL. I probably over-filled my cups, which I tend to do. What can I say, I’m a giver when it comes to cupcake batter. I would not recommend filling the cups three-quarters of the way full…half may be a good place to start.

BLACK BOTTOM CUPCAKES (Recipe Source: Jack Daniel’s Spirit of Tennessee Cookbook)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 8-oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup Jack Daniel’s Whiskey
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbs. vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.
  2. Beat together first 4 ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together remaining dry ingredients in a separate bowl. In another bowl, stir together whiskey, water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients and beat with an electric mixer until combined.
  4. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 (or maybe half…) full with batter. Drop 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture into the center of each.
  5. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until tester inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Makes 18 cupcakes (if you’re lucky. ;))
  6. Store leftovers in the fridge, but bring to room temp before serving. Or just eat ’em cold. They’re good like that too! πŸ™‚

ENJOY! πŸ™‚

One Year Later: Apple Peanut Butter Crumble Bars – I INVENTED these. Yes. Really. I was going to work with this recipe a bit more to work out some kinks but I haven’t yet. I need to get to that!

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Beat Cancer!

As you all know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. All month long, people show support for family, friends and survivors by sporting all things PINK!

It seems just about everyone knows someone personally who has been affected by breast cancer. I know I do. From family to friends to co-workers I have seen people fight and BEAT this disease. There is a wonderful, amazing sisterhood amongst survivors and it’s important that we all do our part to make sure there is a cure for all that are affected. Encourage you family and friends to do their monthly self exams and get regular mammograms. As they say – SAVE SECOND BASE! πŸ™‚

I decided to make a pink treat to show my support. I’ll be entering these in the Power of Pink challenge hosted by Jen over at Beantown Baker. Thanks for raising awareness of this important cause, Jen! πŸ™‚

Sometimes on quiet evenings when there’s not much going on, I’ll drag out cookbooks I’ve looked at million times and flip through them, just to remind myself what’s in there. I was glancing through my Hershey’s cookbook the other day and came upon adorable, pink-frosted mini cupcakes. Perfect for the month of October!

What intrigued me about these cupcakes was the addition of a stiffly beaten egg white to the chocolate cake batter. Different, eh? I thought so too. The end result was a light and almost spongy cake. Not bad – just not what you would expect. The interesting cake texture, coupled with the smooth creamy (PINK) frosting and the richness and crunch of chopped Hershey’s chocolate bars with almonds almost made me forget that these were actually cupcakes. They were pushed into the realm of…something other than cake! I’m not sure how to explain it, other than to say they are very interesting and delicious!

CHOCOLATE PINKS (Recipe Source: Hershey’s 1934 Cookbook)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons Hershey’s cocoa
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg white, beaten to stiff peaks
  • 2 Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars with Almonds (1.05 ounces each), chopped into small chunks

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cream butter and sugar together; add the egg yolk and vanilla, and beat well.
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda and cocoa; add with milk to other ingredients.
  3. Add stiffly beaten egg white.
  4. Bake in a very small buttered tins (1 3/4 inch muffin pan) in a 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Ice with Pink Butter Icing (recipe follows). Scatter candy over the cakes while icing is still soft. Makes 24 cakes.

PINK BUTTER ICING

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon of milk
  • 4 drops red food coloring (I actually used pink gel food coloring. And too much of it at that. Pepto cakes, anyone?)

Beat butter and sugar; stir in vanilla and milk. Beat until icing is smooth and of spreading consistency. Makes about 1 cup.

A couple notes about the frosting:

  • You can use any vanilla buttercream recipe you like here. I found this particular recipe to be quite sweet. But since the cakes aren’t that sweet and there’s some texture with the almonds in the candy, I think it works here. I probably wouldn’t use this particular recipe on it’s own.
  • You may need to add a splash more milk. I found the frosting to be a bit stiff when I went to spread. I knew more milk would solve the problem, but I was already 4 or 5 in – wasn’t gonna turn back! I just kept on…silently cursing myself for not paying better attention the first place. Ha. πŸ™‚

ENJOY! πŸ™‚

One Year Ago:

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Surprise! A Stomachache!

When word got around to my family that I started this blog, saying they were merely surprised is a serious understatement. Shocked. Amazed. Baffled, is more like it.

“Erin has a blog about food?” They all asked, scratching their heads in confusion I’m sure. “Our Erin? But…but…but…SHE DOESN’T EAT ANYTHING!”

Their concerns are valid. It’s true. I don’t eat much. Surprised? I know, right? All these yummy treats, delectable dinners and I eat like a bird! It’s not that I don’t like food – clearly, that’s not the case. I love food. Making it and eating it. I think about food pretty much all the time. I just…can’t have very much of it at one time. I don’t know what it is about me, but I get full way quicker than any normal person probably should. At home, my portions are tiny. When we go out, I typically eat about a quarter of what’s on my plate and then I take the rest home. Waitresses are forever asking me if everything was okay. It must look like I hated my meal by how much I ask to take home (happened just the other night, actually.) It’s not you, Restaurant Meal…it’s me. I just physically cannot overeat.

Oh, don’t get me wrong – I’ll try to overeat every now and then. Well, not on purpose -that’s a bad idea. But sometimes it just kind of happens, especially when I have a free weekend day and I want to cram as much food-related fun into it as I possibly can. Oh, it’s fun all right…so much fun it comes that awful sick feeling that just ruins the rest of your day.

That’s what happened to me today. Why, oh, why do I do this to myself? It happens so rarely these days that it totally sneaks up on me.

Oh, man…my stomach hurts…I just can’t figure out why — oh wait, now I remember.

Just so everyone can laugh at my misfortune, I give you Erin’s Easy, 10-Step Guide to Giving Yourself a Wrenching Gut Ache. Got a dentist appointment you’d like to miss? Creepy neighbors want you to come over and watch a slide show of their two week vacation in Niagra Falls? No problem – just follow these simple instructions and prepare to call in sick. πŸ™‚

  • Step 1: Go raspberry picking. Be sure to sample liberally while you pick – you want to make sure you are getting the best raspberries, after all.
  • Step 2: Decide that it’s pretty warm out and all that picking has left you hot and thirsty. Stop at Sonic. It’s on the way home.
  • Step 3: Go ahead and get the large Cranberry Limeade – it’s after 2:00 p.m. so it’s only a dollar. (For the record, no one really needs to get a large anything ever – small or medium will suffice.)
  • Step 4: Commence immediate chugging of limeade
  • Step 5: Make frosting for cupcakes when you get home. Be sure to lick beater completely clean.
  • Step 6: Continue sucking down that limeade
  • Step 7: Once cupcakes are frosted, take a giant bite out of one of them in the name of blog photography, as it would be helpful, at least this time around, for your readers to see the inside.
  • Step 8: Stare at half chewed cupcake for a second, decide there’s really nothing you can do with the damn thing besides eat it. Inhale the rest of the cupcake in approximately three seconds.
  • Step 9: Wash it all down with the last of that giant limeade.
  • Step 10: Wait about ten minutes. When tummy is thoroughly ablaze and face is sufficiently green, grab Pepto and pray for relief.

So, now that you are positively grossed out, on to the recipe! πŸ˜‰ It was for sure eating all of that last cupcake that pushed me over the edge into Sickdom today. Two words, people: Worth. It.

I was craving fall flavors today, even though the way I got all sweaty raspberry picking proves that summer is not quite over. I just got way too excited to bake something with pumpkin – when I saw these pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting over at Smitten Kitchen, I was hooked!

These are phenomenal! Moist, tender, spicy and delicious! The cupcakes are a great orange color and the whole house smelled of fall while they were baking. I decided to add some mini chocolate chips to the batter because I like the combo of cinnamon/spicy things and chocolate. I think the chocolate helps cut some of the overwhelming pumpkin flavor and adds depth. I made a cinnamon cream cheese frosting to go on top instead of maple. Maple is not one of my favorite flavors and I didn’t want to have to hunt down real maple syrup (which is hard to find) and pay out the wazoo for it (it can be pricey.) I also added a splash of vanilla to frosting. Otherwise, I kept the cake recipe the same. I highly recommend these bad boys – it’s like fall in the palm of your hand!

Take it from me though, go easy. Pick the cupcake OR the cranberry limeade – don’t try to be the hero and do both. πŸ™‚

PUMPKIN CUPCAKES WITH CINNAMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING (Recipe Source: Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it from David Leite)

Before we move on – Like my super cute plaid cupcake liners? Do ya, do ya, do ya, huh, huh, huh??? Get thee to Hobby Lobby! They’ve got a TON of cute fall baking supplies. And…pssst… ::whispers:: they are including them in the 50% off sales on the fall decor items! YAHOO!

Note on the yield: The original recipe says it will make 17 or 18 cupcakes. I ended up with 22 and I think I overfilled a couple of my cups (I always do that…grrrr…) so I bet you could easily get 24 out the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips, tossed in 1 tsp. of flour (keeps them from sinking)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 350Β° (175Β°C). Line a cupcake pans with liners.

2. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl.

3. Add the eggs 1 at a time to the mixer, scraping down the sides after each addition. Alternate adding the flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat in the pumpkin until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips. Scoop the batter among the cupcake liners β€” filling about 3/4 of the way. Rap the filled pans once on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on racks completely.

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling

Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add sugar and cinnamon and beat until desired consistency. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with additional cinnamon.

ENJOY! πŸ™‚

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Let’s go to the Hop!

Have you ever seen the movie American Graffiti? No? Okay, I’ll just a wait a second while you go add it to your Netflix queue. Now please. Thanks.

::whistles and twiddles thumbs:: Got in there? GREAT!

This is one of my favorite movies! Personally recommended to me a few years ago by my dad, who never steers me wrong when it comes to movie recs. If he says he thinks I’ll like it, I do! American Graffiti is no exception. So the basic gist of the movie is four friends go out on the town for one last hurrah before college. They drive around, not necessarily with each other. That’s pretty much it. Okay, so that’s not it, but it’s all I’m going to say without giving too much away. It’s got a ton of big stars in it (when they were young) Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Harrison Ford, Suzanne Somers. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it, you should. It was nominated for Best Picture!!

So what does any of this have to do food, you ask? Well, the movie begins and ends in parking lot of Mel’s Drive In…A quintessential cultural icon of a days gone by. I always thought it would be fun to be a car hop girl….with the roller skates and all. They just opened a Sonic here in town…..a new career in my future perhaps? Heh.

Well, I’m probably not going to be a roller skating car hop, but I can bring a little bit of drive-in fun to my kitchen. My Soda Shop Cupcakes are a delicious chocolate cake, smothered in swirls of malted milk buttercream, dotted with sprinkles and topped with a cherry. And two straws, of course….so you can share with your steady before the sock hop. He sure is dreamy…..

Put on your poodle skirts, your saddles shoes, cue up your 45’s and ENJOY! πŸ™‚

SODA SHOP CUPCAKES (Recipe Sources – Cake from Hershey’s, Frosting Adapted from Allrecipes.com)

CAKE:

  • Click here for cake recipe. I made the Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake and halved the recipe. I got 12 good sized cakes. You can use any chocolate cake you like. Even a box!

FROSTING:

  • 1 /2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp.
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup malted milk powder (not malt drink mix, just the regular powder)
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tsps. vanilla extract

Cream butter in a mixer until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, sift together powdered sugar and malted milk powder. Add to butter and mix until combined. Mix in vanilla. Add milk, a tablespoon at a time until you get the right consistancy for piping.

ENJOY! πŸ™‚

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Love is…

A cupcake stuffed with cream and and covered in chocolate.

Am I right or what? Yeah….that’s pretty much love. And when you get to share with them with the most wonderful man in the world, that’s pretty much perfection.

I made these Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes from Martha Stewart as our Valentine’s Day dessert. I spotted them last weekend on Martha’s website and thought about making them but changed my mind at the last second. Later that same day, I spotted them in Erin’s blog Dinner & Dessert, and I just knew I had to try them! Isn’t that funny how that happens, you have something in your brain, you change your mind and then that exact same thing appears later. It’s like a sign. It’s meant to be. I was meant to make these cupcakes. LOL. They were kind of labor-intensive, but worth it in the end. Sweet, creamy, chocolate yumminess.

I had one minor setback that involved a trip to Bed Bath and Beyond for a new strainer and to the grocery store for more eggs. I went to strain my pastry cream without realizing that my stupid cheapy strainer was completely rusted along the edge on the underside. I banged it on the side of my bowl, lifted it up and found my lovely vanilla cream dotted with flecks of rust. Nice. Ugh. So that got scraped into the trash and off I went to get myself a nice STAINLESS strainer and a dozen more eggs as I had cracked my last one into the first batch of cream.

After that, it was smooth sailing and cupcakes came out great! The cake had a great texture and the cream was delicious, the chocolate divine. The perfect end to a perfect date night at home with my hubby. πŸ™‚

BOSTON CREAM PIE CUPCAKES (Recipe source: Martha Steward Living, February 2009. Also seen on Dinner & Dessert)

Makes 18

Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for tins
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for tins
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour standard muffin tins. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Warm milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat.
  2. Beat eggs and sugar with a mixer on high speed until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Beat in dry ingredients.
  3. Bring milk and butter to a boil. With mixer on low speed, add milk mixture to batter, and beat until smooth. Add vanilla. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each halfway. Bake cupcakes until light gold, about 15 minutes. Let cool in tins for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks. Let cool.
  4. Using a serrated knife, cut each in half horizontally. Spread 1 tablespoon vanilla cream on each cupcake bottom. Sandwich with top. Spoon glaze over each, and serve immediately.

Vanilla Cream:

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Whisk yolks until smooth. Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add milk in a slow, steady stream. Cook, stirring, until mixture begins to bubble and thicken, about 5 minutes.
  2. Pour 1/3 of milk mixture into yolks, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thick, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Pass vanilla cream through a fine sieve into a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days.

Chocolate Ganache Glaze

  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Heat cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat, and add chocolate and corn syrup. Let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, and let cool, stirring often. Use immediately.

ENJOY! πŸ™‚

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We’re Loyal to You, Illinois!

Orange and Blue, Illinois!

Eric and I have something really important in common…we both bleed Orange and Blue! Fighting Illini Orange and Blue, that is! Not only is the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where we met, it’s also where we got to know each other, fell in love, had the time of our lives, and eventually got engaged (about a year after I graduated). It is so very near and dear to my heart. Lifelong friendships and lifetime loves were forged there in it’s hallowed halls. I have been known to get a little teary eyed remembering all the good times we had there, especially now that we live so far away from the friends we gained while we were there.

Champaign, IL is not a particularly glamourous place to be. The opposite really. It’s in the middle of a cornfield, it’s ungodly windy for whatever reason, and it always seemed a bit dirty and rundown. In fact, I’ve have heard the word “Dump Hole” used to describe it. Okay, so I maybe I coined the phrase myself to describe it. LOL! What can you expect…college students come in, trash the place for four years, then leave and never go back. It has improved ten fold since I graduated though. (Chipotle?? Cold Stone??? STARBUCKS!!! Whatever, man! When I was there, we had the world’s most disgusting Burger King and an abandoned Wendy’s building. Can you say JEALOUS??) Despite all it’s faults, and my extreme jealously over how nice it’s getting, I love that place. LOVE it!

Well, we don’t even live in the state of Illinois anymore, so it’s not like we get back there very often. We can keep ourselves connected by tuning in to our beloved Fighting Illini when football season starts. Thank YOU, Big Ten Network, for curing our Displaced Fan Syndrome. Up until this year, we couldn’t even get the score of our game on any given Saturday, let alone actually SEE it on TV. Hawkeye Country…BLECH!

So, if you know anything about the Big Ten, you know how bad Illini football has been. Boy, did they SUCK for a few years there. I mean really, really bad. Awful. Worst team in the Big Ten. Last year, out of nowhere, they seemed to miraculously improve! HOORAY! So, they are no Ohio State or anything (although…who was that that beat #1 OSU last fall…who was that…wow, I can’t remember…oh, that’s right! WE DID!)

I was excited for the Big Ten opener last night, so I wanted to make a fun treat to have while we watched the game last night. I thought maybe my baking vibes would bring them some good luck…sadly, Penn State outplayed them and we lost. 😦 We started out strong, but then there were a couple of costly penalties there in the first half that they just couldn’t seem to come back from. I have to admit I’m slightly concerned for the rest of our season as I don’t want to see dumb mistakes lead to lost football games that they should win. We have to at least beat the Hawkeyes!! That’s all I ask…please, please, PLEASE let us avenge last year’s monstrosity at Kinnick.

So, I was brainstorming my Illini-themed treat and thought It’d be a lot of fun to incorporate our school colors…orange and blue! I’m not big on sugar cookies and icing and that sort of thing, so I wanted to come up with something else. Hmmm…what to do, what to do?! I thought about cupcakes, because they are my favorite thing to bake but just tinting the icing didn’t seem like anything all that exciting either.

In the end, I decided on a twist on the classic red velvet cake. We all know the red part of red velvet cake is just red food coloring…who says it has to be red? Why not green…or purple…or ILLINI BLUE!! πŸ™‚ And so, my Illini (Orange and) Blue Velvet cupcake was born!

Now, Illini blue is a very deep dark navy, so I knew it was going to be a challenge concocting up a navy blue cake with just food coloring. In the end, I was so excited how they came out! The color is just about right on. I ended up using two .3 oz bottles of blue and one red. I was so enthralled with the food coloring, I forgot to add the vanilla to the batter and I missed it in the final product. The frosting was yummy too. I thought the cake was a tad dry, but that could have been because I overbaked my cupcakes a little bit. I always have trouble with the time conversion when changing cakes to cupcakes. I brought in the orange by decorating with M&M’s. You can try this with your team colors for your next tailgate!

ILLINI (ORANGE and) BLUE VELVET CUPCAKES: (Recipe adapated from: Food Network.com – Emril Lagasse)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 .3 oz bottles of blue food coloring, 1 .3 oz bottle of red food coloring.
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line muffin tin with baking cups. In a medium bowl or on a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk. Beat in food coloring and vinegar, then add vanilla. Spread the batter evenly in the pans.
  3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Turn out onto a rack to cool.

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 pound box confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and butter. Beat in confectioners’ sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Frost cooled cupcakes.

ENJOY! πŸ™‚

And just for fun, here are a few pics of campus.

My lovely dorm at ISR! I still remember where my room was! πŸ™‚

Illini Union on the Main Quad.

Altgeld Hall. A lovely building except for all the Math that goes on inside there. HA!

November 6, 2003…Brother’s on Green…the night that changed HISTORY! (As in, the night I met Eric)

May 1, 2005…Alma Mater statue at Wright and Green…the day I SAID YES!

I-L-L…I-N-I!!

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Banana Love

I sure do love cupcakes. They are quickly becoming my favorite thing to bake. Here’s why. Instant portion control. Eat one and you feel like you’ve had a delicious treat. I especially love the recipes that only make 12. It’s just the perfect amount for Eric and I share for the week. Not to mention the fact that they are just so darn cute.

So I think I’ve found a new favorite way to use up those ripe bananas! Move over, banana bread! These cupcakes are light, fluffy and delish. And the frosting…omg…the frosting. I don’t always love buttercream (it can be too sweet for me)Β but this one packs a punch. Eric LOVED these!

BANANA CUPCAKES WITH HONEY-CINNAMON FROSTING (Recipe Source: MarthaStewart.com)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 ripe bananas), plus 1 whole banana, for garnish (optional)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Honey-Cinnamon Frosting

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. Make a well in center of flour mixture. In well, mix together butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Stir to incorporate flour mixture (do not overmix). Dividing evenly, spoon batter into muffin cups.
  3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Spread tops with Honey-Cinnamon Frosting. Just before serving, peel and slice banana into rounds, and place one on each cupcake, if desired.

HONEY-CINNAMON FROSTING

  • 1 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I increased this to 1/4 tsp. – helps counteract the sweetness)
  1. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat confectioners’ sugar, unsalted butter, honey, and ground cinnamon until smooth, 4 to 5 minutes

ENJOY!

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