Browsing Tag


Magnolia Bakery’s Vanilla Cupcakes

May 2, 2010

The first time I tasted a Magnolia Bakery cupcake was in the fall of 2008 while I was in New York for The Rachael Ray Show. For those not familiar with Magnolia Bakery, it gained wide-spread recognition outside of NYC when Carrie Bradshaw, aka Sarah Jessica Parker, on Sex and the City declared the bakery her favorite place for a mini-cake fix. Being a devoted SATC fan, I was determined to play Carrie Bradshaw for the day (er…5 minutes) despite the cold, wind, and rain.

There are multiple Magnolia locations, but only the original on Bleeker Street would do for me. The shop was little, and unassuming with standing room only and a line outside the door that seemed to shout, “delicious cupcakes inside!” Delicious cupcakes indeed. I can still vividly remember my fist bite while walking and window shopping. The light, fluffy, perfectly balanced vanilla cake with a seriously sweet buttercream had me swooning. And while New Yorkers seem to have very strong opinions on what cupcakes are the best in the city, my outsider’s vote goes to Magnolia.

Soon after returning home from New York I Googled the recipe for Magnolia’s Vanilla Cupcakes and was shocked and delighted that it was both available online and unblieveably easy. I’ve been making these cupcakes ever since, to the delight of many. And this week at work I was gifted with something from one of my co-workers: The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook. Reason enough to make a couple dozen cupcakes, even if I have already been making the cupcakes for over a year.

*1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
*1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
*1 cup (2 sticks) butter
*2 cups sugar
*4 large eggs
*1 cup milk (I like to use buttermilk)
*1 tsp. vanilla extract

Buttercream Icing:
*1 cup (2 sticks) butter
*7 cups powdered sugar
*1/4 cup milk, cream, or half and half
*2 tsp. vanilla extract (or extract of your choice)

*Preheat oven to 350*F. In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.
*In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
*Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about two-thirds full. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

*Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

For Buttercream:
*Beat butter until creamy, about 1 minute.
*Add in 4 cups of the powdered sugar and the 1/4 cup milk. Beat on medium high speed for 3-5 minutes until creamy. Add in the remaining powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until all the ingredients are well-combined and buttercream is fluffy and creamy.
*Pipe or spread the buttercream on top of the cupcakes when cupcakes are completely cool. Top with decorator’s sugar or sprinkles, if desired.

Happy Baking!

Coconut Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling and Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

February 24, 2010

I’m not saying Martha Stewart should hand over her perfectly polished crown to me for good, but these cupcakes might make her reconsider lending it to me for the day, or maybe the week. Heck, these cupcakes are so darn good they may warrant the whole month. It’s a bit of a shame cupcakes have become so trendy and popular that they’ve become a cliché. Because no matter how many cupcakes I taste or see, they never cease to stop me in my tracks. Something about them makes me feel like I’m 5 years old and I absolutely have to have one
I’m not sure there is such a thing as a bad cupcake. Like pizza, there are just amazing cupcakes, less amazing, and good. Unless you make Martha Stewart’s Carrot Cake Cupcakes. Then there is such a thing as a bad cupcake. Learn from my mistake and just make these instead. 
Being the responsible blogger that I am, I decided to try a cupcake myself to be sure they fell in the ‘amazing’ category before I shared them with you all. Now I can safely say that these cupcakes don’t just turn out, they have the most amazing texture and flavor. Biting into one is how I would imagine it feels to bite into a cloud, with pillowly, sweet cream cheese frosting and a cakey base that is sturdy enough to support the frosting without being overly dense. I could go on and wax poetic a few more paragraphs, but I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. 
This (above) is coconut cream. Below the cream is the coconut milk. 

*1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
*1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
*1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
*2 cups granulated sugar
*4 large eggs
*1/2 cup coconut milk
*1/2 cup milk 
*2 tsp. coconut extract 
*1 cup shaved coconut 

*3/4 cup raspberry preserves 

*4 oz. cream cheese 
*1/2 stick butter, softened
*1/4 cup coconut cream from top of coconut milk (see photo above) 
*4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
*2 tsp. coconut extract 
Additional coconut for garnishing (optional)

*Preheat oven to 350*F. Line 24 muffin cups with cupcake liners. 
*In a bowl, combine flours; set aside. With an electric mixer, cream butter. Add sugar and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in coconut milk, followed by half of the flour mixture. Repeat with milk and remaining flour mixture, beating just until combined. Beat in coconut extract and shaved coconut. 
*Spoon batter into cupcake lines, 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely on wire racks. 
*Once cooled, with a paring knife, make a well in the center of each cupcake. Spoon a teaspoon of the raspberry preserves into each well. Cover with part of the removed cupcake.
*For the frosting, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and coconut cream. Add the powdered sugar in three additions. Beat in coconut extract. 
*Top each cupcake with frosting and garnish with shredded coconut. 
Happy Baking!

New Take On: Scotcheroos

February 7, 2010

If you’re from the Midwest, or have spent any prolonged amount of time in the area, you may want to stop reading right now. I mean it, this post may offend you, but if you ignore my warning and keep reading, please don’t say I didn’t warn you. Because I’m about to take issue with one of the most beloved desserts that exist in the Midwest. Heck, Scotcheroos may have cult status in other areas of the country, too, though I have yet to eat a Scotcheroo in the South.

It’s not that I have anything against Scotcheroos. In fact, they play right into my weakness for all things peanut butter and chocolate, and the gooey-meets-crunchy texture is spot on. My real issue is that they aren’t reaching their full potential. If you want to make something great in the kitchen, the best place to start is with great ingredients, so you can see why I might have a problem with the base of Scotcheroos being Rice Krispies. Yes, Rice Krispies – also known as the most borning and flavorless cereal known to man. Sure, they have great texture and were a cereal revelation in 1928 when they were invented, but today there are so many delicious, crunchy, flavorful cereals to choose from that I am at a loss as to why anyone would choose to use Rice Krispies when making one of the most beloved desserts on earth, or at least on of our favorites out here on the prairie.

Ranting against Rice Krispies aside, you could still make these scotcheroos with Rice Krispies, but starting with something a little more exciting can only make them better. Except if you use Fruity Pebbles….. don’t use Fruity Pebbles.

These scotcheroo ‘cupcakes’ will be my contribution to the Superbowl party I’m going to. A bar pan would work too, but the colors of these cupcake liners were just too darn appropriate to pass up, and makes for one less pan that needs to be washed afterwards.

*1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
*1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
*1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
*6 cups Honey Bunches of Oats cereal (or any other cereal of choice)
*6 oz. milk chocolate chips
*6 oz. buterscotch chips
*1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

*In saucepan, bring corn syrup and sugar to boil, stirring constantly, and remove form heat. Add peanut butter and stir until smooth. Stir in cereal until well combined. Scoop heaping tablespoons into cupcake liners. Set aside.
*In saucepan, melt chocolate chips and butterscotch chips over low heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter. Spoon mixture on top of each scotcheroo ‘cupcake.’

Happy Baking!


Birthday Cupcakes

August 20, 2009

At Better Homes and Gardens, we like to celebrate birthdays. And it’s shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that we do it with food! Our amazing editorial assistant in Food and Entertaining, Renee, is celebrating a birthday so tomorrow we are all bringing treats.

My contribution? Cupcakes of course! I think I am going to name these cupcakes “Maria.” They are spice cupcakes filled with raspberry preserves and topped with vanilla frosting. I also added handmade gum paste flowers for a special touch.

Hopefully they go over well tomorrow. I am in love with trying out new cupcakes, and “Maria” will make her first debut tomorrow.


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