Gingerbread Cupcakes

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Happy New Year! Hard to believe we are already THREE weeks in to 2016. I have no idea how that happened. It’s almost every day that I think, “Man, I wish I had a pause button.” The time seems to FLY by these days. Anyone else feel that way?

So rewinding…. I was charged with making a few desserts for Christmas Eve this year. Dinner is a sit down affair for 32 (that’s not a typo: THIRTY TWO) people. Baked stuffed lobster, linguini with anchovy sauce, fried scallops, and stuffed calamari are just  a few of the delicacies my mom prepares. Dessert is typically on the lighter side. Easy bites people can pick up and nibble on while sipping homemade lemoncello are best.

While cruising around Pinterest I found these adorable looking cupcakes. The mini Wilton sugar gingerbread men that Sally’s Baking Addiction  put on top of her cupcakes are adorable. I ran around to all of our local craft stores and could not find them. These cute little trees had to work–and they did! I love the winter wonderland-y effect they have when perched on top of the thick cream cheese frosting. These cupcakes were moist and satisfying and would be a tasty addition to any winter dinner.

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Gingerbread Cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temp
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.  In a large bowl using a  stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar together on medium speed until creamy. Beat in the egg until combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat in the milk, molasses, and vanilla on. Mixture will look slightly curdled.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. With the mixer running on low, slowly pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 19-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting

In a medium bowl using a stand mixer beat the cream cheese and butter together on until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk. Beat for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and 1 more tablespoon of milk if needed to thin out. Beat for 1 minute.

Frost cooled cupcakes immediately before serving. Decorate with sprinkles of cinnamon and your choice of candy.

 

Recipe credit: Sally’s Baking Addiction

 

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Pumpkin Cupcakes

 

 

Pumpkin cupcakes! Perfect for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful season!

Pumpkin Cupcakes recipe found here: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/11/pumpkin-cupcakes/

P.S. I hope One-Pie never changes their can label. I love the nostalgia it evokes and choose it over Libby’s every time because of it!

Cake with Fresh Lemon Curd Filling

My dad is a really wonderful guy. He is gregarious, helpful, and fun-loving.  He enjoys cold beer, shrimp cocktail, and hot dogs. He is easy to please and maybe that’s why I love making his birthday cake each year!  (Check out the Root Beer Iced Vanilla Cake I made in 2008 and the Boston Cream Pie I made in 2009.)

In addition to Boston Cream Pie, his other favorite dessert is Lemon Meringue Pie. For his birthday this year I wanted to make cake (not pie) so I translated his love for lemon into a cake filled with fresh lemon curd!

A trick I learned at Flour Bakery (while I was a recipe-testing intern) is called the “dam.” Whenever  you fill a cake with something other than frosting (in this case lemon curd) you should pipe a circle of frosting (a “dam”) around the edge of the cake so that the filling does not ooze out. Check it out:

You pipe the “dam” first, and then spoon the lemon curd within its border. You then place the second cake layer on top and you are ready to frost!

Cake with Fresh Lemon Curd Filling:

(I prepared the lemon curd the evening before I assembled the cake.)

Lemon Curd:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 water
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 4 large egg yolks

Over medium heat, in a non-reactive saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, water, lemon juice, lemon rind, cream of tartar, and egg yolks. Stir briefly using a wooden spoon then whisk continuously for several (approximately 8) minutes until thickened. Strain through a fine sieve. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap touching the curd. Refrigerate until firm.

Cake:

I used this brown sugar cake recipe.

Frosting:

I used (of course) cream cheese frosting to complement the lemon curd filling.

Happy Birthday Dad!!!

 

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!

This is probably my favorite holiday. I have wonderful childhood memories of this holiday, some of which I have discussed on the blog in years past.

This year the pumpkin cupcakes made a reappearance, this time with Smitten’s Maple Cream Cheese Frosting. No fancy decorating, just plain and delicious.

If you are looking for some other last minute ideas, check out these festive baked goods from past years!

Chocolate Peanut butter Cake 

Mini Chocolate Cupcakes with Silver Peanut butter Frosting

Apple and Meringue Tartlets

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Mini Chocolate and Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Caramel Apple Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes (and Halloween cupcake decorating ideas)

Mandarin Orange and Pomegranate Tart

Peanut butter cup cookies

Maple Pumpkin Muffins

Rich Chocolate Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Orange White Chip Cookies

Enjoy!!!!!

Oatmeal Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (Again)

We have here another favorite and crowd pleaser: Oatmeal cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. These cupcakes are great for fall because the cinnamon and nutmeg capture the warmth and essence of the season. These are a grown up cupcake that kids love too.

If you’d like to see me make them before your very eyes, check out this video: http://how2heroes.com/videos/dessert-and-baked-goods/oatmeal-cupcakes-w-cream-cheese-frosting

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I made these red velvet cupcakes for a party last weekend. I have made them several times before, but for some reason I have only blogged about them once. I love this recipe because it offers a very unique cupcake. The texture is dense and crumbly and packed with a complex flavor resulting from the cinnamon and cocoa powder. I am definitely a fan of these. If you try making them, let me know what you think. And of course, as usual, I suggest pairing with cream cheese frosting. YUM.

Notes:

–make sure the butter is not too warm or they will not rise

–do not tap the pan on the counter prior to baking as you do with the Oatmeal Cupcake recipe

 

Strawberry Lime Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I was a bit wary about the combination of strawberry and lime in a cupcake but I decided to give it a go anyway. What a fantastic surprise! The freshness of the two flavors is a winning combination! The lime flavor was not overpowering and really complemented the strawberries nicely. I kept these in the fridge just until serving time, which turned out to be a great move. I served them on one of these excruciatingly hot Boston days and the coolness of the cake and the frosting really enhanced the freshness of the flavors.  The cream cheese frosting continues to speak for itself.  If you haven’t tried it yet I have only two words: you must!

Here are some other recipes using cream cheese frosting. (I promise–your friends and family will thank you!)

Strawberry Lime Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 pound (1 stick) butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice (about one lime)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest (about one lime)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Fill one cupcake pan with liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, alternating with the milk. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the vanilla, strawberries, lime juice, and lime zest into the mixture.

Fill the cupcake liners 1/2 – 3/4 full. Bake for 26-30 minutes, or until a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pan for ten minutes and finish cooling on wire rack before frosting.

Adapted from recipe found in Crazy About Cupcakes by Krystina Castella.