Linzer Cupcakes

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For the cake portion of the recipe use your go to vanilla recipe whether that be a from scratch recipe or a boxed recipe.

Linzer Style
Inspired by the Linzer torte cookie, this confection sandwiches fruit preserves between layers of cake. Follow these easy three-step directions:

1. Slice: With a sharp knife, remove the top from each cupcake. Use a small (1½-inch) cookie cutter to stamp out a favorite shape.

2. Sweeten: Place a small spoonful of preserves in the center of each cupcake. Sprinkle the tops with confectioners’ sugar.

3. Assemble: Holding it by the edges, carefully place each top on the bottom portion of the cupcake.

My first time.

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I have to admit I have never made oatmeal cookies before, kind of shocking.

I opted for McCann’s Irish Oatmeal for the cookies and they are amazing.

Irish Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups softened butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
3 cups McCann’s Quick Cooking Irish Oatmeal
3/4 cup raisins.*
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)

* In the future I will add a full cup of raisins as I felt there weren’t enough to go around with only 3/4 cup.

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla extract.
3. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to butter mixture. Mix well.
4. Stir in McCann’s Quick Cooking Irish Oatmeal, raisins and walnuts.
5. Drop rounded teaspoons of batter on an ungreased cookie sheet.
6. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350°. Cool for 1 minute before removing to wire cooling rack.

Carrot Cupcakes

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A perfect snow day calls for a perfect recipe. Martha Stewart’s Carrot Cupcakes from her book Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes. I’m specifying as I’ve noticed that the online recipes vary from her book with ingredients and preparation.

Makes 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Carrot Cupcake:

1 Pound carrots, peeled and finely grated
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup buttermilk*
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

* I substituted buttermilk for the following : Measure 1 3/4 tablespoon cream of tartar plus 1 cup milk. Whisk to combine and let stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes, until curdled and then stir.

** fun fact: I made my substitute buttermilk and accidentally used the entire 1 cup instead of the 1/3 cup that the recipe calls for. Was questioning myself as to why the batter was on the thin side. Ding ding ding ding. Turns out it made the carrot cupcakes SUPER moist. Sooo moist my husband states “wow, I’ve never had a carrot cake/cupcake so moist” I would recommend sticking to the 1/3 cup buttermilk but if you end up doing what I did it they are still edible.

Icing:

Recipe calls for Cream-Cheese Frosting, however I made mine with homemade vanilla frosting.

Cream-Cheese Frosting- makes 4 cups

1 cup (2 sticks) unsealed butter, room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar 1/2 cup at a time, and then vanilla and mix until smooth and combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

Vanilla Frosting- makes 4 cups

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalaried butter, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium- high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.

2. Reduce speed to medium. Add the confectioner’s sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl. After every two additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds to aerate frosting, the return to medium. This process should take about 5 minutes. Frosting will be very pale and fluffy.

3. Add vanilla, and beat until frosting is smooth. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 10 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together carrots, eggs, buttermilk*, sugar, oil, vanilla and raisins (optional). In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Stir flour mixture into carrot mixture until well combined.

2. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three- quarters full. Bake until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 23 to 28 minutes. Transfer tins to wire rack to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

3. To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with a mound of frosting. Refrigerate up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature and, if desired, garnish with toasted coconut.

Engagement Party

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For my brother in-law and future sister in-laws engagement party I baked from scratch 120 mini cupcakes. Flavors were selected by my future sister in-law: Red Velvet and Chocolate Peanut Butter. The Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes are a blend of two recipes, the final product was rich, chocolatey, smooth and light. For the Red Velvet I have Ms. Martha Stewart to thank, can’t mess with a classic recipe.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes:

Chocolate Cake:
1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare you 8″ cake rounds by greasing and flouring them

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl and mix until well combined

In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry

With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine

Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake liners

Bake for 12-15 minutes for mini cupcakes or until cake tester comes out clean for regular sized cupcakes

Chocolate Cake recipe referenced from Erica’s Sweet Tooth

Peanut Butter Frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
½ cup creamy peanut butter
3¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

Garnish:
Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Directions

To make the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter and peanut butter until smooth. Slowly mix in the confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth and well blended. Mix in the whipped topping until smooth and fluffy. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

The cool whip lightened the frosting perfectly, recipe referenced from Annie’s Eats

Red Velvet:

Cake:

2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food color
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla.

Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting.

Cook’s Note

Gel-paste food color is much more concentrated than the supermarket liquid variety; if you substitute the liquid, you may need to add an entire bottle (1.5 ounces) to achieve the desired shade.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, and then vanilla; mix until smooth.

Red Velvet recipe compliments of Martha Stewart