Browsing Tag


Happy New Year!

December 31, 2010

Hundreds of cupcakes baked. Red velvet, chocolate and vanilla. I’m thinking that the last eight hours of baking have made up for the lack of cooking I’ve done over the past week. Unless you count pouring milk into a cereal bowl or spreading peanut butter on toast.

I feel like this last week, and the entirety of 2010, has gone by way too fast. In some ways, I’m not sure I want it to end. It seems impossible that 2011 could hold things more wonderful than the year before, but then again, maybe it can.

Oh, and since I’m sure you’re wondering, the recipes I used for the cupcakes are below!

Red Velvet: Ina Garten’s Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (From her new “How Easy is That?” cookbook)
Vanilla Cupcakes: Ina Garten’s Coconut Cupcakes (minus the coconut)
Chocolate Cupcakes: Ina Garten’s Chocolate Cupcakes

Happy New Year, all!


Candy Corn Cupcakes

October 22, 2010

Every year around this time, I realize I’m not a Halloween person. Candy, scary movies, haunted houses – no thanks. And don’t get me started about what Halloween means when you’re a college student. Not my cup of tea. But for fear of being seen as the Grinch of October, I’ve made an attempt at Halloween-themed baking.

Maybe it’s a bit of a stretch. In fact, one of my co-workers told me the concept was lost on him, but the cupcake tasted delicious. I believe his exact words were “lose the concept, keep the cupcake”. But since this is likely to be my only attempt at something themed for Halloween, I decided to keep the theme and the cupcake.

If I could do it again, I would have made the orange layer a little more neon orange with the addition of more food coloring. And instead of trying to imitate the chocolate-bottomed candy corn, the read might have been stronger if I had gone with the white, orange and yellow color combination. Either way, these cupcakes are a fun, low-commitment way to celebrate (or not) Halloween.

P.S. – I finally rounded up some photos from a couple weeks back. J and I were part of an awesome cheering section at the Chicago Marathon. It couldn’t have been a more beautiful day, and Jake and Amber (J’s sister and brother-in-law) did great! Maybe we’ll be running it next year?

Candy Corn Cupcakes
(Printable Recipe)

*1 box white cake mix
*2 eggs
*1 1/4 cups water
*2 Tbsp. oil
*2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
*1 tsp. orange extract
Yellow Food Coloring
Red Food Coloring

Almond Buttercream
*2 sticks butter, softened
*3 cups powdered sugar
*2 Tbsp. milk
*1 tsp. almond extract
Yellow Food Coloring

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners. Set aside.
*In a mixing bowl, combined the cake mix, eggs, water and oil. Whisk together until smooth. Transfer half of the batter to a clean bowl.
*In one half of the batter, stir in the cocoa powder until combined. In the second bowl, stir in the orange extract, 2 drops red food coloring and 3 drops yellow food coloring. Stir until well combined.
*Spoon a heaping tablespoon of chocolate batter into the bottom of each prepared liner, followed by some of the orange batter.
*Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely.

*Meanwhile, prepare buttercream. With an electric mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add in the powdered sugar, a cup at a time, and beat until fluffy. Add in the milk and almond extract, followed by four drops of yellow food coloring.
*Pipe buttercream atop cooled cupcakes (I used a large star tip).

Happy Baking!


Peanut Butter Spice Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream

September 13, 2010

One of these Mondays I’m going to be able to post about my relaxing, leisurely weekend where I got lots of sleep, painted my toenails, caught up on laundry and read all my untouched magazines cover-to-cover. But that day is not today. I’ll spare you the details only to say it was a crazy, whirlwind of a weekend and I’m still scratching my head wondering where Saturday went.

In addition to traveling eight hours in the car on Saturday to see J’s little brother play football, it was a weekend spent celebrating J’s 23rd birthday! He might not have seen the reason to cause a fuss, but I most certainly did. I’m a big believer in the concept of ‘birthday weekends’ and was intent on making the entire three days a celebration of the man I love.

There were birthday cupcakes on Friday night when he arrived and a birthday dinner in Minneapolis with family on Saturday night after the game; there was also a man making balloon animals at the restaurant who catered to my request that he make J an birthday balloon hat to wear during dinner. And when his actual birthday arrived on Sunday, I put candles in both his chocolate chip pancakes and his sandwich at lunch. Like I said, birthdays are a big deal around here. 

Since J isn’t a huge fan of overly-sweet desserts, I passed on most of my original ideas and decided to go with a simple spiced cupcake topped with a small dollop of peanut butter buttercream. Had this been my own birthday celebration there would have been a whole lot more buttercream involved. Thankfully, the birthday boy is generous and let me steal the buttercream off another cupcake to make up the difference.

Happy birthday, J!

Peanut Butter Spice Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream
(Printable Recipe)

*1 stick butter, softened
*1 cup sugar
*1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
*1 tsp. ground cinnamon
*1/4 tsp. salt
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*2 large eggs
*3/4 cup self-rising flour
*1/2 cup buttermilk 
*2/3 cup all-purpose flour

*1 stick butter, softened
*1/2 cup peanut butter
*1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
*1-3 Tbsp. milk (start with 1 and add more if you want a thinner consistency)

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cupcake liners and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
*With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy. Add in the sugar and peanut butter and beat until creamy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract until combined.
*Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just combined. Reduce speed to low and beat in the self-rising flour until just combined, followed by the milk, then the all-purpose flour, being sure not to over beat and only mixing until ingredients are just combined.
*Spoon batter into prepared cupcake liners, filling 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
*Meanwhile, prepare the buttercream. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter together until creamy. Add in the powdered sugar, a 1/2 cup at a time, followed by the milk, beating until smooth and creamy.
*Pipe or spread buttercream atop the cupcakes. Candles optional. :)

Happy Baking!


Strongbow Hard Cider Cupcakes

August 24, 2010

Let’s get one thing straight: I am not a passionate beer drinker. In fact, I’m not much for alcohol in general, and when J. and I sit down to have a drink, a half glass of anything is enough to satisfy my tastes.

What I am is a Strongbow drinker.

Strongbow, as in the English hard cider, my favorite alcoholic beverage, and pretty much the only drink I ever really have a craving for. It’s crisp, and bubbly, and slightly sweet. Just sweet enough, I reasoned, to put it into a cupcake. Playing up the apple notes of this cider, I peppered these cupcakes with a bit of ground cinnamon and apple jelly.

And in case you weren’t temped already, I gave you chocolate, too. Apples and chocolate? Heck, why not? I’m already made a cupcake based on something from a beer bottle for goodness sake. The time to be risky, if there ever was one, is now.

I know that questions will come in about how that little flower was made. It’s an edible marzipan flower and it’s super easy to make. So easy, that I think a tutorial is in order. More details to come! Until then, bake some cupcakes and bide your time.

Strongbow Hard Cider Cupcakes 

(Printable Recipe)
*1 stick butter
*1 cup granulated sugar
*2 large eggs
*1/4 cup apple jelly 
*1 tsp. vanilla extract 
*1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
*2/3 cup all-purpose flour
*1/2 cup hard cider (such as Strongbow)
*3/4 cup self-rising flour 
*2 sticks butter
*2 cups powdered sugar
*1 tsp. vanilla extract 
*1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
*1/4 cup cocoa powder
*1 Tbsp. milk, if needed 
*Shaved coconut (optional)

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with cupcake liners. Set aside. 
*With an electric mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add in sugar, then eggs one at a time, and beat until well combined. Add in apple jelly, vanilla, and cinnamon and beat until just combined. 
*Beat in all-purpose flour until just combined. Beat in the hard cider, followed by the self-rising flour. Spoon batter into muffin cups, about half full. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until just golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely on wire rack.

*Meanwhile, prepare frosting. Beat butter with an electric mixer until creamy. Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and cocoa powder. Beat until fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add in the extra tablespoon of milk, if needed.
*Top cupcakes with icing and shaved coconut, if desired.
*I also topped my cupcakes with homemade sugar flowers. Tutorial to come! :)

Happy Baking!


Peach Anniversary Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Giveaway

August 12, 2010

This week marks the one year anniversary of Espresso and Cream! And while it pains me to look back at some of my earliest posts, I am so excited about how far my little blog has come and how it will change in the year ahead. I could not have anticipated the kind words, e-mails, and interactions I’ve had with those of you who read Espresso and Cream. Some interactions are with people I know personally and others I know only through the power of the internet. However I may know you, a big thank you is in order. Thank you for reading, e-mailing, commenting, and, most importantly, cooking and baking.

To celebrate the occasion I’m having another long-overdue giveaway! I briefly though about keeping these coffee cup inspired measuring cups for myself instead of giving them away, but then thought better of it. Just know that I’m very jealous of whoever wins this giveaway. To enter, post a comment below telling me what your favorite dessert is any time between Thursday, August 12 and Sunday, August 15. The winner will be selected at random and will be announced Monday, August 16. If you win I’ll send you an e-mail asking for your address and ship these little beauties (from Anthropologie) your way!

Trendy or not, cupcakes never cease to make me smile. They’re creative, fun, loaded with frosting, and can be made in almost any flavor imaginable with minimal fuss. Plus, for people with a massive sweet tooth like me, cupcakes are imposed portion control. Leave me with a cake and I’ve been known to cut ‘just one more sliver’ a few too many times.

It goes without saying that August and peaches go hand-in-hand, and I would be a food blogger disgraced if I went without posting at least one peachy recipe. One bite of these cupcakes and I think it’s safe to say that peaches and cupcakes go quite nicely together, too.

Peach Anniversary Cupcakes with Peach Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Joy the Baker
(Printable Recipe)

Peach Cake
*1 (18.5-oz.) box white cake mix
*1 (3-oz.) package peach jello
*3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
*4 tsp. granulated sugar
*3/4 cup vegetable oil
*4 large eggs
*1/4 cup water
*1/3 cup peach preserves, such as Smucker’s Simply Fruit

Peach Cream Cheese Frosting
*1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
*1 stick unsalted butter, softened
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*1/2 cup peach preserves, such as Smucker’s Simply Fruit
*1 (32-oz.) bag powdered sugar
Sliced peaches (optional)

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 muffin cups with liners and set aside.
*In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cake mix, jello, flour, and sugar. Stir to combine. Add in the oil, eggs, water, and peach preserves and beat until all ingredients are just combined.
*Spoon the batter into the 24 muffin cups (about 1/2 full for each) and bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until cakes are golden brown around the edges and the centers are just slightly soft. (centers may fall just slightly, but don’t be alarmed)
*Cool completely on wire racks.

*Meanwhile, prepare frosting. Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add in the vanilla extract and peach preserves and beat another 1 to 2 minutes.
*Add in the powdered sugar, a cup at a time, beating until well combined and creamy.
*Spoon frosting into a zip-top bag and snip one of the corners of the bag off. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes and garnish with sliced peaches, if desired.

Happy Baking!


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