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Archive for the ‘Cupcakes’ Category

Just in time for Halloween, here is a super fun recipe for pumpkin cupcakes! I got this recipe via the daily emails that Real Simple sends out and it seemed so quick and easy that I wanted to make them immediately. With only 6 ingredients, you can’t get a much simpler and yummy cupcake recipe!

Here is the recipe:

  • 1 18.5-ounce box yellow cake mix (plus the ingredients called for in the package directions)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 2 8-ounce bars cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 24 pieces candy corn

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners. Prepare the cake mix as directed but with the following change: Add the pumpkin pie spice and substitute the can of pumpkin puree for the water called for in the package directions.
  2. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tins and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Spread on the cupcakes and top each with a piece of candy corn.

Zoe’s Notes: Instead of making the cream cheese frosting, I bought it pre-made… you can do it whichever way you like! I also doubled the pumpkin pie spice since I love that flavor… try it and see what you think!

Source: Real Simple

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Yesterday wasn’t exactly my day.  I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and my mood carried with me throughout the rest of the day, leaving me, at 4:45 p.m., browsing cooking blogs for some inspiration.  I came across a gold mine of scrumptious looking recipes on a blog called Almost Bourdain, and just as I copied, pasted, and emailed the last recipe to myself, my day changed in an instant.

I finished up a few things and headed home, in total awe as to how one chance encounter can lead to new opportunities, how one simple comment can lead to the discovery of unexpected connections…at how completely and utterly small the world is.  Almost on auto pilot I ended up at the grocery store, in the baking aisle.  All I could think about was the orange cake I had come across earlier, and before I knew it I was at home softening butter and practicing my math skills converting the ingredients.

Baking has always been my outlet and tonight was no exception.  Tired but with work to do, I chose instead to bake my cake and let the weirdness of the day fall away.  The result was a much improved mood; oh and a beautiful, moist, citrusy, buttery to-die-for cake that I was tempted to eat in its entirety.

Perfect for an end of the day pick-me-up, brunch, high tea or dessert, this one is a must try for sure.  Here is the recipe, adapted (yet again!) from the one posted here on Almost Bourdain.

Sicilian Orange Cake Recipe
(Adapted from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escape)
Makes 9 1/2 inch cake, to serve about 8

Ingredients

1/2 lb (2 sticks) lightly salted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
1 cup caster sugar (superfine baking sugar – you can find it in the baking aisle with the rest of the sugars)
4 medium eggs (I used large and it turned out just fine)
1 1/2 tsp finely grated orange zest (I love orange zest, so I used a packed tablespoon instead)
1 cup self raising flour
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
For the icing:
1 cup icing sugar (I used powdered sugar)
5 tsp freshly squeezed orange juice
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 345 degrees. Grease and line a 9 1/2 inch clip-sided round cake with non-stick baking paper.

    Because I was having trouble getting the parchment paper to stay, I buttered the entire pan slightly, helping it to stick. Now that I think about it, a simple clip until the batter was poured would have worked also...In my defense, I do think the butter was smart, as you want to take the entire thing out of the pan after it's cooled without it sticking. Food for thought!

  2. Using an electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar together for 4-5 minutes until very pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating very well between each one, if necessary adding a spoonful of flour with the last egg to prevent the mixture from curdling. Beat in the orange zest. Add the flour all at once and mix in well, then slowly mix in the orange juice.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 40-50 minutes (I left it in for 40 and it was perfect, but 45 would have made it hold up a bit better I think) or until a skewer, inserted into the center of the cake, comes out clean. If it starts to brown too quickly, cover loosely with a sheet of lightly buttered foil. (*Note: After leaving it in for 30 minutes I found that it was browning rather quickly.  I simply used a napkin to smear a thin layer of butter on a piece of foil slightly bigger than the pan and loosely laid it across the top of the pan while it baked.  I recommend checking it at about 30 minutes and make your own judgment as to whether or not your cake needs it.
  4. Leave the cake, in its tin, to cool on a wire rack, then carefully remove the sides and base of the tin and peel off the paper. Put it onto a serving plate.
  5. For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in the orange juice until you have a spreadable consistency. Spread it over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides, and leave to set. Serve cut into slices, and store any leftovers in an airtight container.

Tip: Why not turn this Sicilian Orange Cake into these cute little Orange Cupcakes?!

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16233_782005377893_10225494_45540430_7468739_nHalloween is one of my favorite holidays. Who doesn’t love dressing up in costumes and eating lots of candy??  🙂 I also love eating all kinds of pumpkin related food. Pumpkin is so yummy and it’s so good for you too! This Halloween, I made pumpkin cookies and pumpkin cupcakes to go along with our million different kinds of candy that we have to pass out. It’s a good thing Halloween only comes once a year, otherwise I would probably turn into a pumpkin from all of the yummy goodies that I eat at this time of the year! 🙂

Want some other ideas of festive things to make for Halloween? Here are some of our other recipes that include pumpkin…

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Pumpkin Cookies

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It is no secret that I am OBSESSED with flowers – especially the ones that smell good – and so when I heard someone mention that such a thing as rosewater cupcakes existed, I just about died of excitement.  They just sound lovely, and I can imagine they would be the perfect addition to any tea, shower or some other super girly get together.  Interestingly enough, the recipe was not so easy to find (most of them were vegan or super healthy,which, although i am sure they are good, I wanted a more traditional version of a cupcake recipe).  Finally, while browsing Nigella Lawson’s site, I found this recipe contributed by a user called Etoile.  Let the experimentation begin!

Ingredients: pink-garden-roses

1 ¾ cups flour

1 cup sugar

½ cup butter, softened

2 tsps baking powder

1/3 tsp salt

3 eggs, separated

½ cup milk

1 big generous tbsp. rosewater

Frosting

1 tbsp butter softened

2-3 cups powdered sugar or icing sugar

½-1 tsp rosewater (to taste)

1-2 tsp milk

Red food coloring (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan

Sift the flour and baking powder together and set aside.  In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar.  Beat in the eggs.  Add the rose water and then fold in the flour and the milk.

Pour batter into a prepared muffin tin and bake for 30-40 minutes or until slightly golden.  Remove from tin and set aside on a rack to cool.

Frosting:

Mix the powdered sugar, butter and rosewater together until smooth.  Add in milk slowly until you have reached a desired consistency.  Add red food coloring if desired to create pink frosting.  For added decoration try topping the cupcakes with candied rose petals and mint leaves!  Learn how to make your own HERE.

Enjoy!

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imgp23641The other night I was hosting a party called “Women Who Wine.” Everyone brings either a bottle of wine or an appetizer and it’s an opportunity to get together with other female professionals and talk about jobs, networking opportunities, or whatever else someone has to bring up- houses for sale, for rent, fundraisers, etc. I think mostly it’s just a fun way to socialize, eat some yummy food, and enjoy a glass of wine or two with friends, old and current co-workers, and meet new people. Since I’m not currently working and everyone who was coming is working, I thought I would put together a few appetizers since I assumed most people would bring wine since that’s easier to pick up than making an appetizer after work and then coming to the party. However, money is a bit more tight for me than ever, I wanted to figure out what would be yummy, quick, and also affordable since I had a busy day of errands and running around. Here were my ideas:

  • Spinach and Artichoke Dip– this is an all time favorite recipe that I love to make because it can be prepared in advance, covered with plastic wrap and put in the fridge, and popped in the oven 30 minutes prior to guests arriving. Serve with your favorite bread, crackers, or veggies. Click here for the link to this recipe.
  • Hummus and Carrots- buy or make you preferred type of carrots and pick of a bag of baby carrots. Rinse the carrots and place the hummus in a small bowl- what’s easier than that!
  • Spreadable cheese and crackers- I have always loved spreadable cheeses. They are so creamy and delicious and such an easy appetizer!  I picked up Philadelphia cream cheese spread with garlic and herbs. You can find this at any grocery store in the cheese aisle. They have several other flavors but I am in love with this kind. 
  • Cupcakes! I made pineapple cupcakes straight from the box and frosted with vanilla icing. These were delicious!! Super quick and easy too- just follow the package directions! 

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What did other people bring? My friend Ashley brought an amazing pizza dip which I have already requested the recipe for and cannot wait to make this! Other contributions were chocolate chip cookies (can’t go wrong with these!!), fresh sliced strawberries (fruit is always a great healthy addition to a party), and some more cheese and crackers. Oh and of course several bottles of wine! Everyone had a lot of fun at the party and the only person who was upset was my boyfriend who came home expecting leftovers and there were none! You know that’s a sign of great food when there is nothing left! 🙂

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imgp1977When my boyfriend’s sister asked me to make cupcakes for her daughter Kylee’s 2nd birthday party, I was so excited because I love making cupcakes and I also was happy to be able to contribute to the festivities. I think everyone knows how much I love making cupcakes and knows I will never say no- often times I even ask if I can bring them to parties! The plan was for me to frost half of the cupcakes before the party (for the adults) and then the kids would frost their own cupcakes. This is a great way to entertain the kids and keep them busy and interested. 

Ingredients:

  • Cake/Cupcake Mix of your choice (you can make the cupcakes from scratch, but this way is so easy if you are short on time or in a hurry)
  • Frosting of your choice (use food coloring to make different colors – or, you can buy little tiny containers of food coloring paste, available at most party stores)
  • Sprinkles of your choice
  • Toppings- jelly beans, M&Ms, Gummy Bears, etc.
  • Plates and napkins
  • Plastic spreaders for the frosting (again, available at party stores)
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The Cupcake Frosting Station

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions:

  1. Prepare cupcakes according to package directions.
  2. Frost cupcakes for adults and leave how ever many you need for the kids, including a few extras just in case.
  3. At the party, set up a table and chairs for the kids with a table cloth covering it (this will reduce the mess and make clean-up easy). At this party, the table was one that was very low to the ground so the kids were able to sit or kneel on the floor.
  4. Set up the table with the cupcakes, frostings, toppings, plates, and napkins. 
  5. Call the kids over to the table and explain the set-up to them, then let them loose for frosting!
  6. Clean-up! Make sure to check under the table and sweep- we found LOTS of sprinkles under it!
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Cupcake Ingredients

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Chocolate and Vanilla!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cupcakes for the adults... Mmmm!

 

 

I found that the kids really enjoyed this activity, as did several of the parents who helped them and even frosted their own cupcakes! I would recommend doing both chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, since some people like one or the other and not both. On the other hand, I like both and had 2! 🙂

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The Birthday Girl with her Uncle and Mom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: When making something the morning of an event, it’s always wise to check your refrigerator and cupboards the night before to make sure that you have everything you need. Mid-cupcake preparation, I had to run to the grocery store to pick up more eggs. I definitely learned this important lesson and will try to prevent this from happening again!

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imgp0984Anyone who knows me well knows that I love to make cupcakes and will take any opportunity to make them- birthdays, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Going Away parties, you name it! So of course I had to make gingerbread cupcakes for a holiday potluck that was taking place at my boyfriend’s office. Luckily I had the day off, so made these in the morning right before the potluck, but if you need to make them the night before, you can do that too.

I found this amazing recipe on the Martha Stewart Web site and made a few modifications to her original recipe (most noticeably that I bought frosting instead of using my own and used smaller baking cups to make more cupcakes) but found that this was a surprisingly simple recipe that was also a very popular item at the potluck.

This also gave me the chance to use my brand new cupcake carrier that I had just bought at Crate and Barrel the night before- and believe me, this was a lot easier than transporting the cupcakes than placing them in several Tupperware containers or casserole dishes as I normally do.

Prep time: 25-30 minutes

Bake Time: 30 minutes

Oven Temp: 350 degrees

Makes 24 Cupcakes

 Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsulphered molasses
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 can Duncan Hines Butter Cream Frosting (or your preferred type of frosting)
  • 1 container festive colored sprinkles (I chose one with red, green, and white sprinkles)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line 24 muffin tins (2 cupcake sheets) with paper baking cups, and set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil.
  4. When the water boils, pour it into a bowl and add baking soda and stir in gently, then set it aside.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, spices, and baking powder, then set aside.
  6. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, then beat in the brown sugar until the mixture become fluffy.
  7. Add in the molasses, baking-soda mixture, and flour mixture (add the flour gradually to prevent a mess).
  8. Add in the eggs and beat in.
  9. Fill the paper baking cups ½ way – ¾ full, making sure you have enough to fill each baking cup. I found that the cupcakes rose a lot more than I expected, so I would recommend filling them a little less rather than more. This way you may also be able to make more cupcakes!
  10. Place cupcake tins in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until cupcakes are fully cooked, testing with a toothpick.
  11. Let cupcakes cool for at least 10 minutes before frosting and decorating.
  12. Frost with Duncan Hines Buttercream frosting (or you preferred frosting- I considered frosting half of my cupcakes with chocolate frosting but decided to save that for another time).
  13. Top with red, green, and white sprinkles (or your choice of sprinkles).
  14. If you are transporting the cupcakes somewhere, carefully arrange them in cupcake carrier, close it securely, and place in the flattest section of your car.
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Ready to frost and sprinkle!

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Going into the oven...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tip- When pouring the cupcake mix into the baking cups, I like to use a large 2 cup glass measuring cup with a spout. This makes it much easier to pour the batter into the baking cups and is a lot less messy than spooning it out. Try it- you will see it is a lot simpler!

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