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.

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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

#reindeercookies

Items Needed:

– Sugar Cookie Mix (store bought or homemade)
– Chocolate Frosting (store bought or homemade)
– Mini Nila Wafers
– Coconut M&M’s (white for eyes, brown for nose)
– Cinnamon candies for Rudolph’s nose
– Mini Pretzels

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#cupcakethursday 8.2.12

Candied. Bacon. Cupcakes.

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Candied Bacon

1 pound bacon slices or thick-cut bacon slices. (I used low sodium)
1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

Preparation

Position 1 rack in top third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place large rack on lined baking sheet. Arrange brown sugar coated bacon slices in single layer on rack. I noticed if you sprinkle brown sugar on the bacon while already on the rack excess sugar will fall underneath the rack and start to burn. Bake until bacon is crisp and glazed, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool 5 minutes and serve.

#cupcakethursday 7.26.12

Salty & Sweet- Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel cupcake.

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#cupcakethursday 07.19.12

Pucker up. Lemon buttercream with lemon zest and lemon cake.

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Cupcake batter for this particular #cupcakethursday was a boxed mix. I tend to gravitate towards Duncan Hines for cake mixes, in a time crunch this is the way to go.

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

3 cups confectioners sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 tsp lemon juice

Pinch of salt

Lemon zest and nonpareil for garnish

Directions:

Beat butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes, depending on desired consistency). Add vanilla and lemon juice. Beat until combined.

More banana than bread

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More banana than bread. Banana bread has always been my Achilles heel- until now. By far the best, easiest and perfect banana bread recipe. Courtesy of The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

Banana Bread
Makes: one 9- inch loaf
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes plus 1 hour 10 minutes cooling time

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 VERY RIPE bananas, mashed well (1 1/2 cups)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup plain yogurt (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1 1/4 cups walnuts, toasted and chopped corse (optional)

Directions

1) Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat a 9 by 5- inch loaf pan with vegetable oil spray.

2) Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk the mashed bananas, melted butter, eggs, yogurt (optional), and vanilla (optional) together is separate bowl. Gently fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in the nuts (if using). Do not overmix; the batter will look thick and chunky.

3) Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, about 55 minutes.

4) Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes before unmolding onto a wire rack to cool for 1 hour.

Owen’s 2nd Birthday

For Owen’s 2nd birthday I decided to make my first tiered cake. All homemade from scratch. Turned out delicious.

Butter yellow cake with strawberry filling and chocolate buttercream icing.

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#cupcakethursday 6.28.12

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Vanilla on Vanilla.

#cupcakethursday 6.21.12

Cool cool summer.