Saturday, May 30, 2009

Cupcake Experiment #7 (AKA a tribute to Quentin)

First off, I must apologize for some seriously crappy picture quality.  The Not-So-Ex had the nerve to go out with a friend a leave me without his iPhone so I was stuck with the crappy photo taking abilities of my own phone.  And yes I do have a real digital cam but, unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the USB that goes with it since I moved (almost 4 months ago).

But anyway, those of you who know me know that, in addition to my cupcake obsession, I am a massive movie geek.  So when I was looking for a cupcake to fill my lonely, Not-So-Ex-less Saturday evening, this was JUST what I was looking for.  I mean how could I turn down a recipe that managed to combine my love of cupcakes and my love for dark, twisted, violent cinema such as Pulp Fiction (although, for the record, I prefer Reservoir Dogs myself)?

So, in dedication to my Quentin, I present a recipe stolen word for word from my favorite blog ever...

Prepare both vanilla and chocolate batters (directions below); fill muffin cups with 3 tablespoons of each, side by side. Makes 24. (I got more than that!)


  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup whole milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a standard 12-cup muffin pan, or use paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt (and chocolate powder for the chocolate cupcakes); set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; add vanilla, and mix until combined. On low speed, beat in half the flour mixture, followed by milk; end with remaining flour mixture. Mix just until incorporated (do not overmix).
  3. Fill muffin cups with 3 tablespoons of each batter, side by side.. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 22 to 24 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan, 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
As usual, I chose a different frosting than shown on Cupcake Rehab.  I decided to use a chocolate frosting (actually the same one I used for the choc. cherry cupcakes but without cherry).  So here's the frosting I used, stolen from
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1.In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in cocoa and vanilla. Place confectioners' sugar in a large bowl. Pour in cocoa mixture. Beat well (mixture will be extremely thick). Beat in milk, a teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is achieved.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Ok it's definite...

I don't like buttercream.

I tried to remake the Cherry Vanilla Cupcakes except without using a cake mix but I made several errors.  For one, I just don't think the cupcakes were as good.  I don't know why and I don't know what I could do to fix it.

The other mistake was the icing.  I used a cream cheese based frosting on the last batch and buttercream on this one.  It's just too sweet.  I think I should just stick with the cream cheese based for now.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cupcake Experiments #5 & 6...

There was a birthday at my job, which meant I had an excuse for cupcake baking!  So last night I made S'more and Funfetti cupcakes from my new favorite blog Cupcake Rehab.  Now if you look at my picture and say, "Gee I see a S'mores Cupcake but that sure doesn't look like Funfetti..."  That would be correct.

Jake ate the Funfetti Cupcakes.  So we'll focus on the S'mores one...

Here is the recipe, along with one little change I made...


Get this shit together:

  • 7 whole graham crackers, coarsely chopped
  • 1 & ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup of mini chocolate chips (added by P and just a rough guess on the measurement)

And then you’re gonna:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
  2. Place about 1 tablespoon of chopped graham cracker crumbs in the bottom of each liner. Set aside and reserve the remaining crushed crackers.
  3. Mix together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, egg and vanilla until smooth. Alternately whisk in flour mixture and buttermilk until smooth.
  4. Scoop batter into pan and bake 22-27 minutes until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched.
  5. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on wire rack.


First you get:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 (7½ ounce) jar Fluff, or similar marshmallow cream
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Then you’re gonna:

  1. Beat butter in a large bowl with mixer on high speed until creamy. Beat in marshmallow cream. Reduce speed to low, and beat in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Increase speed to high; beat until fluffy.
  2. Frost cooled cupcakes.
  3. Top frosted cupcakes with graham cracker crumbs and a mini chocolate bar, if desired.
Now everyone agreed the cupcakes were awesome.  And I thought the addition of the chocolate chips kinda gave it the bit of ooey, gooey chocolate that S'mores have.

But there is a down side... if you're like me and have a super cheap hand mixer, the marshmallow frosting is super thick and hard to mix.  I burnt up my mixer and had to buy a new one (read as had to send the Not-So-Ex out for a mixer at 1 am).  But there are no regrets and the recipe is definitely gonna be one of the chosen ones for Steph's party.

Now onto the next experiment...

As I mentioned before, Jake ate up my Funfetti Cupcakes so I was kinda screwed.  However, luckily, I had a dr. appt this morning which meant I had an hour of downtime before I had to have the cupcakes at work.  So I decided to do a little cake mix magic and made Cherry Vanilla Cupcakes (which are in the picture).

Cherry Vanilla Cupcakes:

1 Yellow Cake mix
1 cup water
1/4 cup cherry syrup
1 stick butter
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
Some maraschino cherries

Mix 'em all up and beat for 3 minutes.  Pour into cupcake pan and push a cherry into each cupcake.  Bake according to box directions.

Cherry Cream Cheese Frosting (modified from this recipe)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cherry syrup
  • 2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • Some red food coloring
  1. Beat cream cheese and butter in a bowl until combined. Beat in powdered sugar and cherry syrup.
  2. Beat in 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 cups more of powdered sugar till frosting is of spreading consistency. Stir in a few drops of red food coloring.
I know these are incredibly freaking simple but they were also super good!  Now I may try to find a good yellow cake recipe to avoid using a cake mix, but this is still a definite winner!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cupcake Experiment #4 (AKA the one that fails)...

Everyone has their comfort foods.  For me, one of my major comfort food is actually a drink (and doesn't include alcohol believe it or not).  The best thing you can ever give me is a Cherry Coke.  Now I must clarify here... when I say Cherry Coke, I do not mean the bottled or canned version (although the Wild Cherry Pepsi is decent), I mean fountain Cherry Coke where they mix cherry syrup into the Coke.

Yesterday I needed some comfort food so I decided to make Cherry Coke Float cupcakes from the blog Coco Bean.

Now look how awesome this picture looks (which is taken from their site)...
My finished version looks nothing like that.

First things first though.  The cupcakes themselves were really good.  They weren't overly sweet and were nice and moist.  If I made them again, I would probably leave out the cherry in the middle but, other than that, I loved the cupcakes themselves.

There's a coke glaze, basically a royal icing made with Coke instead of milk.  And I screwed it up by not measuring out my Coke and putting in too much, which then meant I had to dump in more sugar trying to get the consistency right.  I got it to where I thought it would work but it ran off the edges of the cupcakes and pooled in the bottom of each little cupcake well, which made them super messy to eat.

And, last but definitely not least, is the Cherry Buttercream.  The fact is that I'm not good with buttercream.  I always add too much liquid, which I did with this one.  And I also didn't beat it long enough after adding the liquid, which meant it started to separate a bit after just a few minutes of sitting around in my warm apartment.

Anyway, here is the recipe... I'm sure you'll have better luck with it than I did.

Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes
adapted from Nigella Lawson's 'How to be a Domestic Goddess'
makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/2 Cups flour
3/4 Cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 Cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 Tbs cocoa powder
3/4 Cup Coca-Cola
1/4 cup marachino cherry syrup
24 marachino cherries

Cola Icing
1 cup Icing sugar
2 tbsp cola

Preheat the oven to 350 F.In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Beat the egg, buttermilk, and vanilla in a second bowl. In a saucepan, boil the Coca-Cola, and cherry syrup gently for five minutes. Melt in the butter and cocoa powder. Pour into the dry ingredients, stir well with a wooden spoon, and then add the liquid ingredients, beating until everything is blended. 
Pour into the cupcake pans and push a cherry into the center of each cupcake. Bake for 15 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. 
When cool drizzle over the Cola Icing and let dry. Top with cherry buttercream and a cherry.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Oh. My. God. (AKA Cupcake Experiment #3)

For the next recipe, the Not-So-Ex suggested chocolate cherry.  After perusing recipes and blogs, I finally settled on a cupcake recipe that I found on the blog Velez Delights...

Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
*makes 12 cupcakes*

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup canned cherry pie filling (not canned cherries in juice)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup cherry juice (I used the liquid from Maraschino Cherries)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1) Preheat oven to 350F.
2) Line muffin pan with paper liners.
3) In a small bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
4) In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and oil. Mix in cherry pie filling, vanilla, and almond extract. Alternately whisk in flour mixture and cherry juice, making three additions of flour mixture and two of juice, beating until batter is smooth. Mix in chocolate chips and vinegar.
5) Scoop batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 22 to 25 minutes or until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack. Top cooled cupcakes with frosting.

For the frosting, I ended up going with a chocolate frosting recipe from, which I modified slightly to give it a bit of cherry...

Chocolate Cherry Frosting
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
1 Tsp vanilla
3 cups confectioners sugar
3 Tsp cherry syrup (from jar of Maraschino Cherries)
2 Tsp milk

1) In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.  Stir on cocoa and vanilla.  Gradually add confectioners sugar.  Beat well (it is extremely thick).  Beat in cherry syrup and milk a teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved. 

The end result was so incredible that I simply can't describe it (and definitely not at midnight).  I will warn you, if you make these cupcakes, make sure you have milk.  Such large doses of chocolate should really include milk!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cupcake Experiment #2

The Red Velvet Cupcakes were such a hit at the house that I decided to try another recipe from the Cupcake Rehab blog.  This time, at the request of the Not-So-Ex, I tried the Dreamsicle Cupcakes.

Now for my first screw-up... when I was making the Red Velvet yesterday, I went through a bottle and a half of red food coloring.  So when I went to make the Dreamsicle Cupcakes, which I decided to make orange, I could not find the little bit of red food coloring that remained.  But I improvised and found that a mix of neon pink and yellow food coloring results in a nice, soft orange.  Thank God.

As far as the cupcakes themselves, I was really pleased with them.  So here is the recipe, which originated from Cupcake Rehab, but was modified by yours truly...

Dreamsicle (Orange and Cream) Cupcakes


  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • some orange zest (added by P)
  • a little orange juice (added by P)
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and lightly butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. For the Cupcakes: Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and orange zest and juice.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  5. Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost.

Now for the frosting...  I had a really hard time with it.  On the blog, she says to frost with vanilla buttercream but didn't give the recipe.  I decided to make a buttercream and add just a bit of orange to it.  The end result was ok.  It was just a bit too sweet and didn't stand up all that well (I always pipe my frosting).  But, with the cupcake, it was good.

Dreamsicle Frosting:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp orange zest (added by P)
  • a little orange juice (added by P)
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 Tsp milk
1.  Cream butter and cream cheese.
2.  Mix in vanilla, zest, and orange juice.
3.  Gradually add confectioners sugar and milk and beat for 3-4 minutes.

Anyway, while the Not-So-Ex loved the cupcakes, I still wasn't convinced so they're on the maybe list.

And, just in case you ever wondered, this is what happens when the Not-So-Ex loves the cupcakes and goes to hug me just as I lean back...  No, seriously.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cupcake Experiment #1

The first cupcake recipe I tried was a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing and it is a TOTAL keeper!

Before I even go into the recipe itself, I have to say that I bought a thermometer to check the temp in my crappy oven and found that, while I thought it was 25 degrees hotter than it was supposed to be, it was actually 50 degrees off.  So, instead of setting the oven for 350, like the recipe said, I set it for 300.  And they weren't even the tinniest bit overcooked!

Anyway, the recipe came from a blog that the Not-So-Ex and I stumbled upon today and from the second I saw the logo, which says "Beating batter and people with whisks since 2007," I knew I had found a bloggie soul mate.  So everyone should definitely check out Cupcake Rehab!

So here is the recipe taken from her blog (and credited to the Magnolia Bakery):


First get together:

  • 1 & ¾ cups cake flour
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 & ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 & ½ large eggs*
  • 3 Tbs red food coloring
  • 1 Tbs + 1 ½ tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ¾ tsp cider vinegar
  • ¾ tsp baking soda

Then you:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line pan with paper liners.
  2. In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.
  5. In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not over beat.
  6. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.
  7. Fill cups ½ full and bake 20-25 minutes, Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely.

*Use one whole egg and then crack one in a bowl, beat it and use half.. or you can live dangerously and use two eggs.


You will need:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 & ½ cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  • Food coloring, if desired

Then you:

  1. In a bowl, with your electric mixer on medium high speed, beat together cream cheese, butter and vanilla until creamy.
  2. With mixer on low speed, make ½ cup additions of sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Increase the speed of your mixer between each addition and if using, add food coloring. Mix until completely colored.
  4. Frost cooled cupcakes.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The 100 Cupcake Project

My wonderful cousin Stephanie received an appointment to West Point, which, while making me incredibly nervous, also makes me very proud.  Steph has always been an amazing person with a huge heart.  I can remember when she helped me out as a volunteer during a summer reading program in Lincoln Co and was justifiably indignant to learn that the kids' playground flooded with raw sewage on a regular basis.  But she's all grown now and fluent in multiple languages.  She's also her own chick since she converted to Judaism despite coming from one helluva WASP-y family.

But back to the original point...

Steph's going away party is June 21st and her mom (Aunt Susan), who is a cake decorator, asked me to make cupcakes for the party.  100 Cupcakes.  And she asked for several different kinds (she mentioned around 6).

So every weekend or so I'm gonna try a new cupcake recipe out.  I'll post pics and recipes and we'll see which ones make the cut!