Christmas cupcakes!

So I was trying to find a good recipe for cupcakes to make for Thanksgiving using cranberries. I came across a recipe for White Chocolate Cranberry Mousse . However, I did not have and Grand Marnier and, being that I don’t really drink that, didn’t feel like spending money on any, so I sniffed around a bit, and found this recipe for cranberry sauce, and decided to sub some orange juice for water and make my own cranberry sauce filling, to go with these white chocolate cupcakes….

However… I wasn’t too excited about just plain white chocolate frosting, so, yet again, I decided to add my own twist. After I made the initial cranberry sauce, I pulsed it in a food processor for about 30 seconds or so, to smooth it out a bit, then I set aside about 3/4 of a cup and put it through a strainer to get a really smooth orange-cranberry coulis to add to the white chocolate cream cheese frosting. I think it worked out pretty well.

Then I made the cupcakes and carved out little wells to put the sauce in. I think they came out really well, but you be the judge….

 

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Chocolate frosting for those who hate chocolate frosting.

I’m one of those people. Unless it’s a really rich, milk chocolatey frosting smothered on a yellow cake, I’ll pass. I feel the same way (or even more so) about chocolate cake. I guess you could say I’m not that much of a chocolate fan… until I discovered the secret to making flawless, loved-by-all, chocolate frosting.

There are a few amazing baking blogs that I have to credit with seriously helping me perfect the art of cupcaking and baking in general. One of those is Joy The Baker. Not only is she an amazing baker, she is a damn good cook. I have made several of her actual cooking recipes and she knows what she’s doing. One day when I was sifting through her dessert archives, I came across her recipe for The Best Chocolate Buttercream. I’m not sure why it caught my eye this particular day, given my history of shying away from chocolate anything. I think I was particularly in need of new recipes and needing to try something different than vanilla-based cakes/frostings. Upon scanning the ingredients and seeing Ovaltine, I was instantly intrigued.

Unfortunately, much to my chagrin, my local [un-American, I might add] grocery did not carry Ovaltine. They did however carry an off-brand, Spanish-labeled “choco drink mix” which I decided would have to do…. and it DID! So the good news is, although Ovaltine is preferred, it’s not necessary if you find yourself unable to find any.
HOWEVER: Hershey’s drink mix will not do. The powder consistency is not thick enough for what we’re trying to accomplish, therefore I do not recommend using that particular kind.  

For my birthday this year, I wanted to try out some chocolate pudding cupcakes. Naturally, I employed the use of this delicious chocolate frosting, with a bit of a twist. If you’re not a fan of malted milk balls, this isn’t the recipe for you. If you are, this is amazing.

Chocolate Malt Buttercream

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 t vanilla or the scrapings of 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 Tblspns heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup malted milk powder

 

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, heavy cream and malted milk powder. Set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer cream together the butter, cocoa powder, and salt. It’ll be super thick. Turn off the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl. Add 2 cups powdered sugar. Turn the mixer on low and drizzle in 1/4 cup of the milk mixture and vanilla.
  3. Turn mixer to medium and add as much more of the milk mixture until you’ve reached your desired consistency. Feel free to add more powdered sugar and then add more of the milk mixture until the frosting is thick and fluffy. You might not use all the milk mixture.

Here’s how mine turned out (on the left):

Vanilla

Once upon a time, back in the beginning stages of me realizing my passion for baking, I actually used to make my desserts using store-bought cake mix and frosting.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with store-bought cake mix & frosting… I am a self-proclaimed cake batter addict and store-bought definitely tastes the best. There’s honestly nothing better than funfetti batter.

But after awhile, my baking affinity started growing and I started to branch out and crave more challenging recipes, that called for something other than eggs and vegetable oil to complete. I received a few cupcake books as presents and began  trying out some recipes from them. About 6 months into seriously honing my baking skills, I decided that I hadn’t found a solid vanilla cupcake recipe. So, I set out on the internet to try and find a go-to recipe that would crank out perfect vanilla cupcakes every time.

I must confess- I am a plain Jane. One of my personality traits is that I like things plain: plain cheese pizza, plain pancakes and waffles (no syrup or butter), plain vanilla ice cream, etc. I’m weird, I know, but it’s just what I like. So, naturally, I am a lover of the plain vanilla cupcake probably more than the average bear. In my search for the perfect vanilla cupcake, I landed on the foodnetwork.com recipe for Magnolia’s Vanilla Cupcake. But I wasn’t that excited about the frosting recipe…. thus began my habit of mixing and matching cake and frosting recipes.

After some more searching, I somehow stumbled across Amy Sedaris’ recipe for vanilla buttercream. I know, I didn’t know she was a baker either, but apparently she has a couple cookbooks out, like this one:

I will now let you in on why I have deemed this recipe the best of the best:
– It uses a lot of heavy whipping cream in the frosting. It makes all the difference.
– I started using real vanilla beans instead of extract… again, makes a huge difference. And plus it just looks super authentic with the specs of vanilla in the frosting.

I’ve made it more than several times and it’s a no-fail combination. It consistently turns out a very moist cake with a fluffy, yet buttery frosting that holds up well to decorating:

 

Aaaaaanndd…. because I love colors, I commonly like to dye frosting when I can… and this little recipe is great for coloring:

Hey ;)

I’m a 20 something with a passion for baking. I started baking about a year and a half ago, and it has grown into quite an addiction for me. It’s a way for me to get away from the stress of life, and it’s really fun for me to try out new recipes and create things. I am always looking for new challenging recipes that I can try out and make my own.

It’s basically a baking blog I decided to start because of how much I bake and people have asked me for recipes, etc. so I figured I would start a place where I can document my stuff and share my methods with other people who might want to get into baking like I have.

 

 

 

Because I’m only about 40% sugar, and a good 60% spice.

 

 

 

twitter: feistyass_Libby
tumblr: cupkakefiend.tumblr.com

if you have questions, leave a comment and I will try to answer them asap.