Easy Buttercream Reindeer Cupcakes

Christmas is a time for snow, reindeer, and PB&J cupcakes?! Yes, that’s right. When I was trying to think of the right flavor for these reindeer cupcakes, peanut butter was the front runner…and whenever I use peanut butter, jam usually follows suit. These cupcakes taste just as delicious as they look, and are sure to be a big hit at whatever holiday party you’re baking them for!! The recipe and tutorial can be found below:

Peanut Butter Cupcake Batter (adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction):

  • 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup your favorite peanut butter (chunk or smooth)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk

Filling: A jar of your favorite jam

Peanut Butter Buttercream:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Additional Decorations:

  • 12 tootsie rolls (antlers)
  • 12 pairs of eyes (can be eye sprinkles or homemade from fondant!)
  • brown and red M&Ms
  • brown sprinkles (mouth)
  • leave frosting tip
  • piping bags
  • brown gel food coloring

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Bake Time: 25 minutes

Decorations: 30 minutes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin tin with 12 cupcake holders.

Begin by making the peanut butter cupcake batter. Cream together the peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar at a medium speed until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add in vanilla. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Mix in half the flour mixture, then add in the buttermilk.  Mix in the remaining dry ingredients, until just combined. Be careful not to overmix!! The batter should be pretty thick.

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Use a cookie scoop to divide batter evenly between 12 cupcake tins. Bake for 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Place the muffin tins into the freezer for 20 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process, and lock in the moisture of the cupcakes.

While the cupcakes cool, make the peanut butter buttercream! Beat the butter and peanut butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until combined. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time). Place 1/3 of the frosting into a piping bag, and cut a 1.5 cm opening. Add a few drops of brown gel food coloring to the remaining frosting, and place into a piping bag, cutting a 1 inch opening.

Next, prepare the antlers! To make each pair of antlers, heat 2 unwrapped tootsie tolls in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, until they just being to melt. They should be warm to the touch and easy to mold. If they are to hot to handle. Let them cool for 30 seconds – 1 minutes, then try to handle them again. Shape the tootsie rolls into two logs, about 1.5 inches long. use a small knife to cut into the logs, to shape the spikes of the antlers. Set aside on parchment paper to cool.  Be sure the antlers are fully hardened before inserting into the cupcakes.

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Once the cupcakes are full cooled, remove the centers with a knife and fill with your favorite jam. Place the top of each cutout on top of the jam, then pipe a swirl of brown peanut butter frosting onto each cupcake.

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Using the lighter peanut butter frosting, pipe a small circle on one side of the cupcakes to be the reindeer’s snout. Use an offset spatula to smooth the buttercream.

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Place a red or brown M&M on top of the snout, and a brown sprinkle to be the mouth. Add on the eyes just above the snout, and then insert the antlers into the top of the cupcakes.

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Use some of the remaining brown frosting and a leaf tip to pipe small ears. Freeze the ears, then quickly place them on the sides of the antlers. Then the cupcakes are ready to enjoy! While these cupcakes may be cute, they’re even more fun to eat 🙂

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Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Around the holidays I’m always inspired by all the beautiful pies I see on social media! While I am by no means a pie expert, these cupcakes help satisfy my pumpkin pie aspirations, through a different medium. They’re made with a pumpkin cupcake batter, filled with a no-bake pumpkin pie filling, and frosted with a buttercream “crust.” The recipe and a quick tutorial are included below:

Pumpkin Cupcake Batter

  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ⅓ tsp. pumpkin spice
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs

Pumpkin Pie Filling: 

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Vanilla Buttercream Ingredients: 

  • 4 sticks or 2 cups (434 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups (907 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp (3 grams) salt
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 grams) heavy cream
  • 3 tsp (12 grams) vanilla
  • yellow and brown food coloring

Bake time: 17 minutes

Yield: 12-14 cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Place the flour, sugar, dark brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin spice into a large bowl. Gently stir to combine. Add in the oil and pumpkin, and stir until incorporated. Mix in the eggs, one at a time. Add a squirt of orange gel food coloring, and stir until the batter is evenly colored.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, and bake for 17 minutes. Remove from oven and place on wire racks to cool. To speed up the cooling process, you can also place the cupcakes in the freezer for 15 minutes.

While the cupcakes bake, prepare the pumpkin pie filling. Pour one cup of cold heavy cream into a medium sized bowl, and whisk in 1 package of vanilla pudding mix. Whisk until the mixture is smooth, then add in 1 cup of pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice, and cinnamon. Mix until fully incorporated. Add a small squirt of orange gel food coloring if desired, to achieve a more vibrant shade of orange. Chill in the fridge.

Next, make the “pie crust” frosting! Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached.  Add in a tiny bit of brown and yellow food coloring, to achieve a tan shade that resembles a pie crust. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Once the cupcakes are baked and fully cooled, use a small knife to remove the centers of the cupcakes. I cut out a large portion of the cupcake, so that I could fit in a lot of the pumpkin pie filling, but this is a matter of preference.

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Fill the centers with the chilled pumpkin pie mixture, the smooth the tops using an offset spatula. Place half of the frosting in a piping bag with a wilton 103 tip, and the rest into a bag with a small round opening.

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Pipe a variety of lattice designs and crusts onto the cupcakes. Below are the designs I made!

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You can pipe your favorite pie decorations, and also can modify this recipe to make different pie flavored cupcakes 🙂

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Chocolate Red Wine Cupcakes

I know, red wine AND dark chocolate?? WHAT?? This is one combo you’re just going to have to trust me on. The deep flavors of the dark chocolate and red wine pair surprisingly well together, and it’s just an added bonus that you can pour yourself a glass of the leftover red wine while making these. This recipe is perfect for these chilly fall evenings, and for the Holiday season! The full recipe can be found below:

Chocolate Red Wine Cupcake Batter (inspired by Sally’s amazing chocolate cupcake recipe):

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup your favorite red wine (I used a bottle of cabernet sauvignon)
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature

Red Wine Buttercream:

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp red wine
  • red and black gel food coloring

Dark Chocolate Red Wine Ganache:

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 Tbsp red wine

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Bake Time: 19-20 minutes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and line cupcake tins with 12 liners.

Begin by making the red wine chocolate cupcake batter. Add dry ingredients into a bowl, and whisk together. Combine buttermilk, eggs, wine, and oil in a separate bowl, and mix into the dry ingredients in two installments. Stir until the ingredients are fully combined, then scoop equal amounts into liners using a cookie scoop (fill about 1/2 way, they will rise!). Bake for 19-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before placing on a wire rack.

While the cupcakes bake and cool, prepare the red wine frosting. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the cream and red wine during this process.  Once fully mixed, add in the

salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. Add a few squirts of red gel food coloring, and the smallest drop of black gel food coloring. Mix until the color is evenly distributed, and is a deep red shade. Place into a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M tip.

Next, prepare the red wine chocolate ganache. Place chopped dark chocolate and heavy cream into a heat proof bowl, and heat in microwave for 30 seconds at full heat. Stir, then heat for an additional 30 seconds. Stir again, then heat for 15 seconds. Let the mixture sit for about 1 minute, then stir until smooth. Add in the red wine, then set aside.

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Remove the centers from the fully cooled cupcakes using a 1 inch circle cutter or cupcake corer. Fill the center fully with a spoonful of red wine chocolate ganache.

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Frost with a large swirl of red wine frosting. Warm up any leftover ganache for 30 seconds to make it more fluid, then drizzle the leftover ganache over the top of the cupcakes.

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I also added a wine shaped pipette into the cupcakes, filled with wine. Because you can never have too much wine 😛

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Cinnamon Fireball Cupcakes

I had my first taste of fireball when I was 19, and it had a lasting impression. It’s a flavored whiskey liquor that tastes just like a liquid red hot. For some reason I’ve always associated fireball with the Fall, so it seemed like the right time to whip up some fireball-inspired cinnamon cupcakes! There’s fireball in both the cupcake batter, and the buttercream frosting, and the cupcakes are topped with a fireball pipette. The full recipe can be found below:

Fireball Cinnamon Cupcake Batter:

  • 1 1/4 cup (162g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (212g) sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup fireball

Fireball Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp. fireball
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • optional: yellow and orange gel food coloring

Yield: 12-14 regular cupcakes, about 40 mini cupcakes

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 17 minutes for regular cupcakes, 9-10 minutes for mini cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and place cupcake liners in baking pans.

Add the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt to a large mixer bowl and gently mix. Add the buttermilk, and gently stir until just combined. Next, add in the fireball, vanilla, and  vegetable oil, and mix until the batter comes together. Next, mix in the egg until well combined.

Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 way full, and bake for 19 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Once cooled, poke holes into each cupcake using a fork, and drizzle fireball (1/2 – 1 tsp per cupcake) over each cupcake.

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While the cupcakes bake and cool, prepare the vanilla frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the fireball half way through. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in some additional fireball (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

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Color 1/2 of the frosting yellow, 1/4 orange, and leave 1/4 of the frosting uncolored. Place into piping bags fitted with a Wilton 1M tip (open star), and pipe swirls of each color onto the cupcakes. I matched the color pattern of  candy corn, but you can pipe them however you want!!

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The last step is to add a pipette of fireball into the side of each cupcake. Then it’s time to enjoy (responsibly!) 😛

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Halloween Cupcake Ideas: Round 2

I had so much making my last batch of Halloween cupcakes, I decided to make another!! This batch features a couple iconic cupcake designs, including an homage to Frankenstein, and the classic shattered glass cupcake (inspired by this recipe). These decorations don’t require fancy tips or difficult techniques, but you will need a bit of gel food coloring, and a candy thermometer! I made them using a super moist spice cupcake recipe, and frosted them using my american buttercream frosting! The recipes used can be found below, along with a quick tutorial:

Spice Cupcake Batter

  • 1 1/4 cup (162g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (212g) sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger

Vanilla American Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Orange, yellow, black and green gel food coloring

Edible Glass Shards:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • candy thermometer

Additional Supplies:

  • Tootsie Rolls
  • piping bags
  • brown and red sprinkles
  • candy eyes
  • Halloween sprinkle blend
  • strawberry jam
  • red food coloring

Bake time: 17 minutes

Yield: 12-14 cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and place cupcake liners in baking pans.

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixer bowl and gently mix. Add the buttermilk, and gently stir until just combined. Next, add in the water, vanilla, and  vegetable oil, and mix until the batter comes together. Mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Next, stir in the egg until well combined.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, and bake for 17 minutes. Remove from oven and place on wire racks to cool. To speed up the cooling process, you can also place the cupcakes in the freezer for 15 minutes.

While the cupcakes bake, prepare the buttercream frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the heavy cream half way through. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time). To watch a full tutorial on how I make my frosting, you can click here.

To make the edible glass shards,  mix 1 cup water, 1/2 cup corn syrup, sugar, and cream of tartar in a large saucepan or pot. Bring mixture to a boil. Use a candy thermometer and boil sugar syrup until temperature reaches 300 degrees, stirring constantly. It’s super important that you get the mixture to exactly 300 degrees, and immediately remove from the heat one it does. If it doesn’t reach this temperature, it won’t fully harden, and you won’t be able to smash it into smaller shards. If it gets hotter than this, or if you don’t stir if constantly, the mixture can begin to caramelize and gain a yellowish hue. When sugar reaches 300 degrees, quickly pour onto a metal baking pan. Cool until completely firm to the touch. Break into “shards” using a hard object (I sterilized a hammer for this, but a meat mallet would work too!).

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For the shattered glass cupcake design, remove the center from each cupcake. I like to use a 1 inch circle cutter. In a medium bowl, mix together strawberry jam with 1 squirt of gel food coloring. Fill each cupcake with strawberry jam, and pipe white frosting over the jam. Stick glass shards into the frosting, and then drizzle some of the remaining red jam between the shards.

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To make the candy corn swirl cupcake, color a portion of the frosting yellow, and orange. Fit three piping bags with a Wilton 1M (open star) tip, and fill bags with the yellow, orange and white buttercream. Pipe the first, largest frosting swirl with the yellow buttercream. Add a second, smaller swirl with the orange frosting, and add a small finishing swirl on top with the white buttercream.

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To create the Frankenstein cupcakes, frost cupcakes with a mound of bright green buttercream. Dunk into chocolate jimmies, and leave one side of the frosting uncovered by sprinkles. Add candy eyes, a red sprinkle stitch, and a brown sprinkle mouth. Cut each tootsie rolls into 8 equal pieces, and shape small neck bolts. Stick into the sides of the frosting.

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To make the gothic halloween swirl cupcakes, pipe a mound of white buttercream onto each cupcake. Dunk into a Halloween sprinkle blend. I love using blends from Neon Yolk Shop.  Pipe a swirl of black frosting on top of the sprinkles, using a wilton 1M tip. Top with some orange sanding sugar.

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And that’s how you make all four designs!! I had a hard time picking my favorite, but I think I like the shattered glass cupcakes the best 🙂

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Halloween-Inspired Pumpkin Cupcakes

It’s finally October, and I couldn’t resist whipping up some easy Halloween cupcakes!! These decorations don’t require any fancy tips or difficult techniques, but you will need a bit of gel food coloring! I made them using a super moist pumpkin cupcake recipe, and frosted them using a cream cheese buttercream frosting! The recipes used can be found below:

Pumpkin Cupcake Batter

  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ⅓ tsp. pumpkin spice
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 sticks or 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp  vanilla
  • Orange and green gel food coloring

Additional Supplies:

  • Tootsie Rolls
  • piping bags

Bake time: 17 minutes

Yield: 12-14 cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Place the flour, sugar, dark brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin spice into a large bowl. Gently stir to combine. Add in the oil and pumpkin, and stir until incorporated. Mix in the eggs, one at a time. Add a squirt of orange gel food coloring, and stir until the batter is evenly colored.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, and bake for 17 minutes. Remove from oven and place on wire racks to cool. To speed up the cooling process, you can also place the cupcakes in the freezer for 15 minutes.

While the cupcakes bake, prepare the cream cheese frosting. Beat the butter and cream cheese on a medium speed for 30 seconds, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time). To watch a full tutorial on how I make my frosting, you can click here.

Color 1/6 of the frosting green, and color the remaining portion orange using gel food coloring. Place both colors into piping bags. Trim a 1 cm opening for the orange frosting, and 1/2 centimeter opening for the green frosting.

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Once the cupcakes are fully cooled, pipe orange panels onto the top of the cupcake. Cut tootsie rolls in half, and create score marks on the sides of the tootsie rolls using the edge of an offset spatula. Press them into the top edge of the cupcake, to be the pumpkin stump.

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Use the green frosting to pipe vines and leaves around the base on the pumpkin stump.

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I also used this recipe to also make a few other types of spooky Halloween cupcakes!

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You can watch the full tutorial here:

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

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As fun as summer has been, I am so ready for Fall! By time August rolls around, I’m usually over the humidity, heat waves, and constant “glistening” whenever I step outside. Fall brings so many great things, including boots season, beautiful foliage, and yes, PSL! I might be getting a bit ahead of myself, but I couldn’t resist making these Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes. And yes, that is a pumpkin spice caramel drizzle. The full recipe is included below:

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcake Batter:

  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ⅓ tsp. pumpkin spice
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp espresso powder, dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 sticks or 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp  vanilla

Pumpkin Spice Caramel Recipe:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin spice

Bake time: 17 minutes

Yield: 12-14 cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Place the flour, sugar, dark brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin spice into a large bowl. Gently stir to combine. Add in the oil and pumpkin, and stir until incorporated. Mix in the eggs, one at a time. Add in the espresso, and stir until the batter in smooth. Another option is to swirl this batter with my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe! I decided to combine the two batters, to give these cupcakes a more exciting look. I alternated scoops of each batter, then used a knife to create a swirled pattern. This doubles the yield of the recipe.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, and bake for 17 minutes. Remove from oven and place on wire racks to cool. To speed up the cooling process, you can also place the cupcakes in the freezer for 15 minutes.

While the cupcakes bake, prepare the pumpkin spice caramel! Turn stove onto medium heat, and place a  pot over element. Pour in sugar. Using a heat proof stirring utensil (I use an old-fashioned wooden spoon), stir until sugar begins to melt into a clear liquid. Continue to stir, until clumps of sugar begin to form. Slowly the color of the sugar clump will deepen from white to amber. Keep stirring until all the clump of sugar have dissolved, and then turn off the heat. Mix in butter slowly, then stir in cream, salt, and pumpkin spice. Place in fridge to cool for 20 minutes, then pour into desired container. I put mine in a squirt bottle (for drizzling over cakes), but a mason jar or Tupperware container would work great too! The caramel will keep for several weeks in the fridge. You can see a full tutorial on how to make this caramel here.

Next, prepare the cream cheese frosting. Beat the butter and cream cheese on a medium speed for 30 seconds, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time). To watch a full tutorial on how I make my frosting, you can click here.

Once the cupcakes are fully cooled, frost them with a Wilton 1M (open star) tip. Drizzle with Pumpkin Spice Caramel. Be sure the caramel is fully cooled, or else it will melt the frosting! Lightly dust the cupcakes with pumpkin spice.

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To take the decoration of these one step further, you can place them into the short cups from Starbucks (I filled the base with pumpkin candies, to make sure the cupcakes were elevated enough, and add a trimmed green straw!

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By swirling the batters together, you get the below look!

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The Best Dark Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

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I’m starting a cupcake series on my YouTube channel, and plan to use this recipe as my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe! After testing out several different recipes, it’s by far my favorite! It’s a modified version of the Brown Eyed Baker’s chocolate cupcake recipe. I am a huge fan of one-bowl recipes, and have done my best to make this cupcake recipe as easy as possible!

I replaced the dutch-processed cocoa with black cocoa powder, to really give these a beautiful color, and to intensify the taste! The best comparison is to think of the bittersweet, chocolaty taste of an Oreo cookie!

I only recently discovered black cocoa, and I’m obsessed. Black cocoa has a slightly higher pH than dutch-processed cocoa (8 vs.7), and is much less acidic than natural baking cocoa (5-6). However, this is optional, and you could also use regular cocoa if that’s what you have on hand.

I always frost my cupcakes with a half batch of my American buttercream, and usually use a Wilton 1m tip (open star) or a Wilton 2D tip (closed star).

Chocolate Cupcake Batter:

  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • ⅓ cup (28 grams) black  cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup (177 ml) hot water + 1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • ¾ cup (117 grams) flour
  • ¾ cup (149 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate American Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup black cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Optional Filling: Chocolate Ganache

Yield: 14 cupcakes

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 18 minutes

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and place cupcake liners in baking pans.

Fill measuring cup with very hot water, and add in espresso powder. Stir until combined, then pour into a bowl. Add the chocolate chips and black cocoa powder. Let this sit for 2 minutes to melt the chocolate, then stir until no chunks remain.

Add the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt into a large bowl and gently mix. Pour in chocolate espresso mixture, and stir until just combined, being sure to scrap the sides and bottom of the bowl while mixing. Next, mix in the eggs, one at a time. Then add the oil, vinegar, and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth.

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Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, and back for about 18 minutes. Once a toothpick comes out clean (or with minimal crumbs), remove from oven. Allow cupcakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and place in the freezer for 15 minutes (to accelerate the cooling process).

While the cupcakes bake and cool, prepare the chocolate frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the cocoa powder half way through, along with the heavy cream. Once all the powdered sugar is added, mix in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

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Once  the cupcakes are fully cooled, it’s time to fill them! Remove the center of the cupcakes using the wide end of a frosting tip, and add chocolate ganache to the center of each cupcake. Pipe on a large swirl of frosting, using a Wilton 2D tip. If you don’t have any frosting tips, you can always use a zip lock bag and just trim the tip to have a 2 cm opening.

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To make these a bit more fun, I also added drizzle some warmed up ganache over the frosting, and grated some dark chocolate over the top of the cupcake!

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Classic Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

I’m about to start a cupcake series, and plan to use this recipe as the base recipe for all my cupcakes. After testing out several different recipes, it’s my favorite and now my go to! It’s a slightly modified version of Life Love and Sugar’s Vanilla Cupcake Recipe.

I swapped out the regular milk and used buttermilk (my personal preference!), and made it all in one bowl! I hate making extra dishes, and always try to simplify recipes when baking.

I always frost my cupcakes with a half batch of my American buttercream, and usually use a Wilton 1m tip (open star).

Vanilla Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 cup (162g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (212g) sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) water

Vanilla American Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Yield: 12-14 regular cupcakes, about 40 mini cupcakes

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 17 minutes for regular cupcakes, 9-10 minutes for mini cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and place cupcake liners in baking pans.

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixer bowl and gently mix. Add the buttermilk, and gently stir until just combined. Next, add in the water, vanilla, and  vegetable oil, and mix until the batter comes together. Next, mix in the egg until well combined.

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Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 way full, and bake for 17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

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While the cupcakes bake and cool, prepare the vanilla frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the heavy cream half way through. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Once  the cupcakes are fully cooled, add a large swirl of buttercream. I used a Wilton 2D tip, but you can use whatever you prefer! If you don’t have any frosting tips, you can always use a zip lock bag and just trim the tip to have a 2 cm opening.

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I also added a bit of gold leaf to these cupcakes to jazz them up! I gently added the gold leaf using a sterile paint brush and sheets of 23k edible gold leaf. I purchase mine on amazon!

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Mermaid Tail Cupcakes

Building on the mermaid cake trend, I wanted to make some mermaid cupcakes! They’re the first cupcake of a cupcakes series I’m starting on YouTube, and I wanted to kick things off with something colorful! I used my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe, which is a slightly modified version of Life Love and Sugar’s Vanilla Cupcake Recipe.

I swapped out the regular milk and used buttermilk (my personal preference!), and made it all in one bowl! I hate making extra dishes, and always try to simplify recipes when baking.

I always frost my cupcakes with a half batch of my American buttercream, and usually use a Wilton 1m tip (open star).

Vanilla Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 cup (162g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (212g) sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) water

Vanilla American Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Additional Items:

  • white fondant
  • tylose powder (optional; accelerates the drying of the fondant)
  • rolling pin
  • pastry cutter
  • purple, sky blue, and green food coloring
  • mermaid colored sprinkles (I used these from Neon Yolk Shop!)

Yield: 12-14 cupcakes

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 17 minutes

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and place cupcake liners in baking pans.

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixer bowl and gently mix. Add the buttermilk, and gently stir until just combined. Next, add in the water, vanilla, and  vegetable oil, and mix until the batter comes together. Mix in the egg until well combined.

Divide the batter evenly between 3 bowls, and color one a light purple, one a light blue, and one green. Alternate spooning the different colored batters into the cupcake liners, to created a layered look.

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Fill the cupcake liners about 1/2 way full, and bake for 17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

While the cupcakes bake and cool, make the mermaid tails. Color 1/2 cup white fondant light purple, 1/2 cup light blue, and 1/2 cup light green using gel food coloring. Knead the color into the fondant, twisting and pulling until the color is evenly spread throughout the fondant. Add 1/2 tsp of tylose powder to each color, to accelerate the firming process. If the fondant gets sticky, let is rest for a few minutes, then resume kneading. Combine the three colors into one long log, and twist the colors together. Roll this out, the fold one more time repeat to blend the colors together.

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Cut out a 2 inch mermaid tail from cardboard, and use this a template to cut out 12 mermaid tails. Use the wide end of a round frosting tip to make a webbed patter at the end of the tail. Flip the frosting tip over, and use the smaller opening to make the scales on the tail. Use a fondant tool of knife to score the tail. Place on parchment paper and set aside for at least 2 hours to harden.

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Next, prepare the vanilla frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the heavy cream half way through. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Divide the frosting between 2 bowls, and color one light purple, and the other light blue using a drip of gel food coloring. Place the light purple into a frosting bag with a round opening ( I just cut my piping bag to have a 2 cm opening). Place the light blue frosting a separate bag with an open star tip (Wilton 1M).

Once  the cupcakes are fully cooled, add a swirl of purple buttercream. Pour mermaid sprinkles into a small bowl, and dunk the cupcake into the sprinkles to cover the frosting entirely.

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Pipe a swirl on top of each cupcake, and then gently insert the fondant mermaid tail into the center of the swirl.

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Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

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Valentine’s day is right around the corner, and I wanted to make some festive cupcakes for my coworkers.  I ended up making dark chocolate cupcakes with a raspberry compote filling, pink vanilla buttercream, and pink and red sprinkles. I used my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe, which is inspired by one of my favorite baking blogs, the Brown Eyed Baker.

  • 4 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1 tsp. instant espresso powder
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Raspberry Compote Filling

  • 1 bag frozen raspberries (2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Pink Vanilla Buttercream

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 sticks of butter, room temperature (1 cup)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 heavy cream
  • 1 squirt of pink gel food coloring

Yield: 14 Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard-size muffin pan with liners. Place the chocolate pieces and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Pour the hot coffee over the mixture and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate mixture for 10 minutes, until it has cooled to room temperature.

Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla extract into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin pan cups. Place one slightly rounded teaspoon of ganache filling on top of each cupcake. Bake until the cupcakes are set and just firm to the touch, about 12-14 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on the wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

While the cupcakes bake, prepare the raspberry compote. Heat a saucepan to medium heat, and cook down the raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice for about 10 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch, and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool.

Next, prepare the frosting. Beat the butter and salt on high using a hand mixer or KitchenAid, until the butter is light and fluffy. Slowly add in the powdered sugar over several installments, alternating with splashes of cream. Mix in the vanilla and salt, and mix on high until all ingredients are fully incorporated, and the frosting is light and fluffy. Add in the gel food coloring, and mix until the frosting is an even color.

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Once the cupcakes are fully cooled, cut out the centers, and fill them with a rounded tablespoon of the cooled raspberry compote. Sprinkle red and pink nonpareils over the cupcakes, then frost a swirl onto the cupcakes using a open star tip, and add a heart sprinkle to the top of each cupcake.

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I frosted some of the cupcakes with a heart, instead of a swirl. I also made mini and regular sized cupcakes. The mini’s bake for about 11 minutes. I really liked the way both cupcakes looked, and I think my coworkers did too 🙂

Peanut Butter Snickers Cupcakes

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I can always rely on my mom to have a decently stocked candy cupboard at home. Sure enough, when I arrived home for Christmas I was happy to find a giant bag of peanut butter snickers. Of course, my first thought after seeing them was a peanut butter snickers cupcake 😛

Chocolate Cake Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup  vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Buttercream:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream

Garnish:

  • 1 Bag Peanut Butter Snickers
  • Sea salt
  • Crushed peanuts
  • Chocolate ganache (equal parts heavy cream and chocolate)

Begin by preheating oven to 350ºF. Line 2 regular muffin pans with cupcake liners. Combine flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a mixer. Mix on low. Add eggs, buttermilk, 1 1/2 cups warm water, oil, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until smooth and completely combined. Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full. Bake until cakes are set and a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean, about 16 minutes. Let cool in pans set on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks, and let cool completely.

While the cupcakes bake, prepare peanut butter buttercream. Whip the butter and peanut butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer, until it is fluffy. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar, adding it in multiple installments. As the frosting thickens, add salt, heavy cream, and vanilla. Continue to mix, and add additional cream until desired consistency is reached.

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Frost the cupcakes with a swirl using a closed star tip. Drizzle cooled ganache over the top of the frosting, and garnish with crushed peanuts, sea salt, and a chopped piece of peanut butter snickers 😀 Next time I make these, I think I’d also try drizzling some salted caramel over the top.

Reeses Chocolate Cupcakes

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I received a phenomenal cupcake order this week: A request for Reese’s Cupcakes 😀 I used my favorite chocolate cake base, topped with a fluffy peanut butter buttercream, chocolate ganache, crushed peanuts, sea salt, and a mini Reeses.

Chocolate Cake Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup  vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Buttercream:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream

Garnish:

  • 1 Bag Mini Reeses
  • Sea salt
  • Crushed peanuts
  • Chocolate ganache (equal parts heavy cream and chocolate)

Begin by preheating oven to 350ºF. Line 2 regular muffin pans with cupcake liners. Combine flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a mixer. Mix on low. Add eggs, buttermilk, warm water, oil, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until smooth and completely combined. Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full. Bake until cakes are set and a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean, about 16 minutes. Let cool in pans set on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks, and let cool completely.

While the cupcakes bake, prepare peanut butter buttercream. Whip the butter and peanut butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer, until it is fluffy. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar, adding it in multiple installments. As the frosting thickens, add salt, heavy cream, and vanilla. Continue to mix, and add additional cream until desired consistency is reached.

Frost the cupcakes with a swirl using a closed star tip. Drizzle cooled ganache over the top of the frosting, and garnish with crushed peanuts, sea salt, and a mini Reeses 😀reesescupcake

Banana Emoji Cupcakes

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As my good friends know, I love using emojis. I frequently feel like emojis allow me to communicate my thoughts and feelings better than words. To honor these wonderful little smileys, I made banana cupcakes decorated with my favorite (and most commonly used) emojis.

Serving: 24 cupcakes

Prep Time: 1 hour

Bake Time: 14-18 minutes

Banana Cake Base:

  • 2 cups bananas, mashed, ripe
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Buttercream:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup honey roasted peanut butter
  • 4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 container yellow sprinkles
Begin with the banana cake base. Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Butter, flour, and place parchment paper circles in four nine-inch, circular cake pans (I made three layers, but wished I had done four! The tops get too rounded if you try to fit all the batter in three pans). In a small bowl, mix the mashed banana with the lemon juice, and set aside. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt, then add eggs, one at a time. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar, until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, then beat banana mixture into the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. Pour the batter into the a lined cupcake tin, and fill 3/4 full. Bake for 14-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
For the peanut butter buttercream, beat the butter and peanut butter until fluffy, then slowly incorporate the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. Add in the vanilla and salt, and splashes of cream. Continue to mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Reserve a few tablespoons of frosting and color them black (for the facial expressions), and color the remaining frosting with the red gel food coloring (I also made pink frosting for the tongues). I frosted the top of the cupcakes with a large, round tip, then dunked the cupcakes in yellow sugar sprinkles. I then drew my favorite emoji faces onto the cupcakes using a small round tip 😀
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Tip: Chocolate chips and sprinkles make great eyeballs and eye brows,  and red sugar sprinkles make great blushing cheeks 😛

 

Gluten Free Almond Cupcakes

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Another cupcake flavor I’m testing out for my friend’s wedding is a Gluten Free Almond cupcake. The bride has Celiac Disease, and I really wanted her to be able to eat her wedding cupcakes! So we decided to make these almond cupcakes gluten-free.

Almond Cupcake Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2  tsp baking soda
  • 1/2  tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Almond Buttercream:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Serving: 14 cupcakes

Prep Time: 1 hour

Bake Time: 13-14 minutes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius), and line two cupcake pans with cupcake liners. Whisk together the dry ingredient in one bowl, and mix together the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Slowly incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing between additions. Stir until fully combined. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake for 13-14 minutes, until the tops are just beginning to brown, and tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from pans, and let them cool fully on a wire rack.

As the cupcakes cool, prepare the almond buttercream. Beat the butter until fluffy, then slowly mix in the powdered sugar. Mix in the almond extract, and salt. Add cream as needed, until desired consistency is reached. Pipe the frosting onto the fully cooled cupcakes with a large round tip, and garnish with slivered almonds.

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Raspberry Mojito Cupcakes

As my friend Mary’s wedding approaches, I have entered into the final stages of cupcake testing for her big day! I have decided to make a gluten free almond, a salted caramel chocolate cupcake, and am testing this cupcake as the final flavor. It’s clean fruit flavor contrasts well with the other cupcake varieties.
Lime Cupcakes
  • 1 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • zest of 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • Green Gel Food Coloring
Raspberry Filling:
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
Whipped Mint Frosting:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp mint extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • pinch of salt
  • mint sprigs (garnish)
  • fresh raspberries (garnish)

Instructions:

Begin by making the cupcake batter.  Get out your eggs and buttermilk to bring to room temperature 30 minutes before you begin. Preheat your oven to 350F degrees and line your cupcake pan with liners.Zest the 2 limes into a small prep bowl and pour the sugar over it. Using the back of a rubber spatula, press the sugar into the lime zest until the sugar has become fluffy and fragrant. This process should take 2-3 minutes. In a medium prep bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cold, cubed butter on high until smooth. Add the lime sugar and beat until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes. NOTE: The butter and sugar will not become light and fluffy because of the oils in the lime. One at a time, add the eggs and mix on medium-high for 30 seconds after each addition making sure to scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl to ensure everything is incorporated. Add the lime juice and mix in. NOTE: The mixture will look curdled, but don’t worry… this is normal. Using a toothpick, add a small dollop of the gel coloring and mix until the color is uniform. Scape the bowl down to make sure all the batter has been dyed. In three parts, add the flour with the mixer on low speed. Between each addition of flour, add half the buttermilk. After the last amount of flour has been added, turn the mixer off and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and fold in the remaining flour. Turn the mixer back on to medium-high speed for 10 seconds. DO NOT OVERMIX! Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pan for at least 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the rasp berry filling, stir together the raspberries, sugar, lemon juice, and salt over medium high heat. Cook until the berries break down completely and the mixture begins to bubble, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until the mixture has reduced by about 1/3-1/2 and has become thicker. Stir constantly during this process. Pour mixture into a glass bowl and set aside to cool. To speed up the cooling process, place the bowl in the refrigerator.
For the Whipped Mint Buttercream, cream together the butter and shortening. Add the powdered sugar mix on medium for about 30 seconds. Add half the heavy cream and beat on medium high until smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and then mix in the mint extract and salt. Add the remaining heavy cream and beat on high for 3-4 minutes until smooth and fluffy.
To assemble the cupcakes, core the center of each cupcake using and apple corer. Fill the hole with raspberry filling, pressing the filling down to the bottom of the cupcake. Fill the hole with enough filling so that it is flush with the top of the cupcake. Fill a piping bag fitted with a round piping tip with the buttercream. Pipe a swirl of buttercream onto each cupcake. Garnish with a mint sprig and fresh raspberry.
The bridesmaids agreed, this flavor was a winner 😀

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Patriotic Cupcakes

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With fourth of July just around the corner, I wanted to make some patriotic cupcakes! I used my favorite red/blue velvet cupcake base, filled them with patriotic-colored compotes (blueberry and raspberry), and topped them with a vanilla buttercream, and Fourth of July sprinkles (as I like to call them). I don’t think I could make these cupcakes more patriotic if I tried 😀

Red and Blue Velvet Cake Batter:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 3/4 cups granulated white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • red and blue gel food coloring
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon instant coffee, dissolved in 1 Tbsp boiling water

Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted lightly to remove any lumps
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • dash salt

Bake time: 12-14 minutes

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake tins. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and red food coloring. Stir in the coffee, and white vinegar. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients a little at time, mixing after each addition, until just,combined. Divide the batter between two bowls, and add blue gel food coloring to one, and red gel food coloring to the other. Mix until desired color is reached. Remember, a little food coloring goes a long way 😉 Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full. I decided to mix the colors in some of the cupcakes, by layering the batters on top of each other. I also made some mini cupcakes. Bake for 12-14 minutes (mini cupcakes bake for 6-8 minutes), until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove cupcakes from tin, and let cool fully on a wire rack.

Combine the softened butter, shortening, vanilla, salt, and powdered  sugar in a large bowl. gently mix by hand, then finish combining with a hand mixer. Whip until the frosting is fluffy. Color 1/4 of the frosting red, and 1/4 of the frosting blue.

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I used a star tip, and swirled red, white and blue frosting for some of the cupcakes. To do a colored-swirl frosting, streak the sides of your piping bag with red frosting on one side, and blue frosting on the other. Fill the center of the bag with the white frosting, and pipe swirls onto the top of each cupcake.For the miniature cupcakes I made, I frosted them with a plain vanilla buttercream, and added patriotic sprinkles to the tops!

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Panda Cupcakes

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Busy season ended yesterday. It was pretty brutal, and I needed something to brighten my day. Like most people, I am a big fan of animal cupcakes. Why? Because they’re adorable. I had a lot of fun making these Monkey Cupcakes last month, and they inspired me to make these panda cupcakes. Not only are they fun to look at, they taste delicious too! The cupcake base is incredibly moist and fluffy, which are two things I always hope for when I bite into a cupcake. And the vanilla buttercream? Simple perfection.

Chocolate Cupcake Base:

  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cups hot coffee
  • 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup canola oil

Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Decoration:

  • white sugar sprinkles
  • brown sprinkles
  • large chocolate chips (Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips work the best!)

Servings: 12 cupcakes

Bake time: 12-15 minutes

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Pour hot coffee over chocolate, and let this sit for a minute. Stir until the chocolate is fully melted, then add in the sugar, flour, and oil. Mix until fully combined, then mix in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla, baking powder, salt, oil, and vinegar, and mix until incorporated. I mixed by hand, but you can also mix with a hand mixer. Pour batter into lined cupcake pans, filling each liner 2/3 full. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the cupcakes are just baked through, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from pans, and let them cool on a wire rack.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, prepare the vanilla buttercream. Whip the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer, until it is fluffy. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar, adding it in multiple installments. As the frosting thickens, add salt and vanilla. Continue to mix, and add cream until desired consistency is reached.

Once the cupcakes are fully cooled, pipe on frosting using a large, round tip.Dip the frosted cupcakes into a bowl of white sugar sprinkles, making sure that the entire surface of the frosting is covered in  sprinkles. Place two large chocolate chips on the upper third of the cupcake for the eyes, pointy side down. Add a mini dollop of frosting for the whites of the eyes, and a dot of black frosting or black sprinkles for the pupils. Place two chocolate chips on the the upper edge of the frosting, for the ears. Put a chocolate chip into the center of the cupcake sideways, for the nose. Using brown sprinkles, make the mouth of the panda. That’s the fun part, you can make the pandas have whatever expression you chose 😀

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And TAH-DAH! If these little guys can’t brighten someone’s day, I don’t know what will!

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

I received a cupcake order for someone who loves caramel…and my first thought was to make a salted caramel cupcake. I like the contrast between dark chocolate and caramel, so I decided to make a dark chocolate cupcake base with a salted caramel buttercream, and caramel drizzle. I may have gone a bit overboard on the caramel, but in my opinion, you can never have too much of a good thing 😀

Chocolate Cupcake Base:

  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups hot coffee
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup canola oil

Salted Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 6 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Salted Caramel Buttercream:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 1/3 cup salted caramel sauce
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Sea salt, for garnish

Servings: 24 cupcakes

Bake time: 12-15 minutes

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Pour hot coffee over chocolate, and let this sit for a minute. Stir until the chocolate is fully melted, then add in the sugar, flour, and oil. Mix until fully combined, then mix in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla, baking powder, salt, oil, and vinegar, and mix until incorporated. I mixed by hand, but you can also mix with a hand mixer. Pour batter into lined cupcake pans, filling each liner 2/3 full. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the cupcakes are just baked through, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from pans, and let them cool on a wire rack.

While the cupcakes bake, prepare the salted caramel sauce. Pour the sugar into a large, heavy-bottomed pot, and whisk until completely melted. The sugar will clump in the beginning, but don’t worry…it will melt completely with time. Allow the sugar to cook until it turns a beautiful amber color, and has a nutty aroma. I don’t have a candy thermometer, so I go completely by visual cues. At this point, remove the mixture from the heat. Whisk in the butter, then the cream. The mixture will bubble up, so be careful during this stage (I burned my finger!). The last step is to stir in the salt. Let the caramel cool to room temperature.You can store any leftover caramel in a mason jar. It will last in your fridge for about two weeks.

Once the caramel has cooled, prepare the salted caramel buttercream. Whip the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer, until it is fluffy. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar, adding it in multiple installments. As the frosting thickens, add caramel, salt, and vanilla. Continue to mix, and add cream until desired consistency is reached.

Once the cupcakes are fully cooled, pipe on frosting using a large, round tip. I topped each cupcake with a drizzle of caramel sauce, a caramel candy I bought at the grocery store, and a sprinkle of sea salt.

You can definitely make your own caramel squares, following this recipe. I usually like make everything from scratch, but considering it’s busy season…and I started baking these cupcakes after midnight..I made an exception this time. While I did cut myself some slack on the caramel squares, I HIGHLY recommend you do make your own caramel sauce. It doesn’t take much time, and tastes so much better than that artificial goo from the store. That is all 😀20140521-003126-1886390.jpg

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