Sweet & Salty Honey Peanut Cupcakes36

Posted by in Cheese, Experimental Recipe, Honey (Tuesday March 18, 2008 at 8:59 am)

Sweet & Salty Honey Peanut Cupcakes

My neighbor is a bee keeper. Mostly she keeps bees in a more lush area of the city, but she also has some hives in her backyard. She dropped off some of her backyard honey the other day. I just had to make some cupcakes with it! This creation consists of honey chiffon cake, layered with some salty peanuts, and then topped with a honey cream cheese frosting.

I had some challenges with the cake and wasn’t able to experiment enough with it to get it to my high standards. The posted recipe is just shy of what I would deem acceptable, but the frosting is a definite winner.

I have had some people ask me, “How do I do it?” what with a demanding full-time job, a baby, the blog… Well, I don’t really do it… not like I used to, anyway. It’s definitely a lot harder to devote the time required to get a great post together given that they often involve recipe development of some sort. I am exploring other content ideas to help bridge the gap between posts, but I don’t want to just link or refer to other existing content on the web – there are already plenty of blogs doing just that and doing it well. So, we shall see. In the meanwhile, explore the archives if you haven’t had a chance.

I am planning on baking next for the first ever meet-up of the Bay Area Cupcakes Take the Cake group. My inspiration for my next creation is color and the plan is to pair chocolate and fruit in a few different combinations… Join us if you are from the area!

Honey Peanut Cupcakes
~9 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

2 tablespoons peanuts, unsalted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup + 1 tablespoon flour (cake if you have it, otherwise all-purpose)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons grape seed oil or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons whole milk
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup thick honey
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1/4 cup sugar

1. Chop peanuts together with the salt and set aside. If you can’t find unsalted peanuts use the salted but only add a pinch of additional salt. Taste the chopped nuts and make sure they are salty.
2. Sift flour, salt, and baking powder into the bowl of a standing mixer.
3. In a medium bowl, combine oil, milk, egg yolks, and honey. Stir to combine.
4. On a low setting, start to beat the dry mixture and slowly add the wet. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until incorporated.
5. Transfer mixture to another bowl. Wash and dry mixer bowl.
6. Whip egg whites with whip attachment on medium-high speed until foamy. With the mixer on medium speed, add cream of tarter and slowly add sugar. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.
7. Scoop a cupful of the stiff egg whites into the batter and stir to combine. This should lighten up the batter.
8. Transfer the batter to the egg whites and gently fold until there are no more streaks of egg white.
9. Fill cupcake cups about 1/3 full. The sprinkle peanut/salt mixture over top. Fill with batter up to 2/3s full and bake at 350 F for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Sweet & Salty Honey Peanut Cupcakes
layering in some peanuts

Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

4 ounces or 1/2 package of Philly cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1-2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons thick honey

1. Bring butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours.
2. Sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment.
3. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy.
4. Add 1 cup of the powdered sugar and the honey. Beat until combined.
5. Add more sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like.

Note: The honey I used in both recipes was very thick, meaning it was not pourable unless I warmed it in a water bath first. This works great for the frosting as it keeps it thick. Note that if you use pourable honey the texture of both recipes may change slightly!

Assemble
1. Frost.
2. Topped with chopped, salted peanuts.

All About Frosting – The Recipes42

Posted by chockylit in Cheese, Chocolate, Step-by-Step Photos (Tuesday December 11, 2007 at 11:13 pm)

chocolate ganache

I get many a question about frosting. I thought I would compile my thoughts on the subject in two part series of posts – a sort of one stop shop for all things frosting… from my perspective, of course! First up… the recipes.


Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate ganache frosting is one of my favorite frostings to use. Why? Let me count the ways. One, because I love chocolate. Two, because the taste is very “adult” and not too sweet. Three, because it’s practically no fail and adaptable to what I have on hand.

Reviewing my posts, I apparently have as many ganache recipes as I do posts with ganache recipes – a testament to its versatility. If I get one point across about ganache it is that ganache is indeed adaptable to your personal taste and preference.

Ganache is typically made by bringing heavy cream to a simmer then pouring over chopped bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, stirring to combine, and then adding remaining ingredients – pretty straightforward.

The typical ganache recipe I use contains the following ingredients:

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt

I have used as little as 6 ounces of chocolate with 1 cup of cream, as that is all I had on hand, and it worked out fine. I have also interchanged various types of chocolate, bittersweet, semi-sweet, different brands, etc. It changes the flavor of the ganache but not the outcome. The exception is with milk and white chocolate which don’t come up to spreadable consistency using this basic ingredient list.

I like to use Valrhona, 61% cocoa or higher, for its intense, full-bodied, earthy chocolate flavor. I have tried to stay local and use Scharffenberger, which I like to eat on its own, but I find it too bright and tangy to bake with. I have used Ghirardelli in a pinch. While I don’t like the flavor as much as Valrhona it’s an acceptable alternative and readily available in most grocery stores. The brand is really up to you, but the quality of the chocolate makes a big difference in flavor so spring for the good stuff if you can.

How I treat the ganache depends on the cupcake I am making. If I want a very adult flavor I will stick to the basic recipe (see above) and either pour it on, spread it on, or beat it then spread it on.

Poured Chocolate Ganache

Poured chocolate ganache results in a gorgeous, shiny layer of frosting that is very dramatic and very grown up. I used the method for my version of an “Opera” cupcake. Just let the mixture cool slightly and pour it onto the cupcake (or cake) before it starts to thicken. It will thicken in place and stay very shiny if you don’t touch it. Top it with something special – white chocolate dipped candied ginger, an edible flower pedal, or a smuggled dragée. Very classy…

Spread Chocolate Ganache

Cupcakes often form an attractive dome rising over top the cupcake paper. I like this look (more cupcake!) but it doesn’t support the poured ganache method. When spreading ganache, let the mixture come to room temperature, stirring occasionally, until it’s spreadable. Then spread a relatively thin layer on to the cooled cupcake with a small palette knife. To get a smooth finish, dip the palette knife in hot water, wipe dry, and then smooth the frosting.

I use this method when I want a small, but intense quantity of frosting… when I want to have the flavor of chocolate without overwhelming whatever else is going on. See examples of this method here, here, and here.

Beaten Chocolate Ganache

If you want the intense flavor of a straight up ganache, but still want to pipe it on because, well, it looks so nice piped on, then beat the cooled ganache with an electric mixer fixed with the paddle attachment for a few minutes. This will incorporate air and increase the volume of the frosting without diluting the flavor. The ganache will lighten in color compared to the unbeaten version. See an example here.

Whipped Chocolate Ganache

I have been exploring a variation on ganache that is sweeter than the simple version just discussed. I use this when I want the cupcake to appeal to child and adult alike. It’s more akin to a chocolate buttercream, but with a more intense chocolate flavor. I have experimenting with various versions of this approach.

Version 1 – Basic Ganache but with Butter and Powdered Sugar

This is basically a mixture of ganache and buttercream. Most chocolate buttercream recipes use cocoa or just a small amount of melted chocolate beat into the butter and sugar. This method of making the ganache first then beating in butter and sugar makes for a more chocolate tasting frosting.

See examples here and here

Version 2 – A Totally Different Take

I first saw this method in a book by pastry chef Emily Luchetti. I have definitely tweaked it significantly since I first tried it many years ago. The recipe includes bittersweet, semi-sweet, and unsweetened chocolate and can be tailored to your personal taste by simply adjusting the quantities of the various chocolates while keeping the overall quantity the same. For example, to make it sweeter, increase the semisweet by a couple of ounces and decrease the bittersweet or unsweetened. The unsweetened chocolate imparts a rich cocoa flavor, the bittersweet gives the frosting bite, and the semi-sweet sweetens the whole thing up.

See examples here, here, and here

There are other recipes and methods out there, of course. I plan to try recipe on David Llebovitz’ site which uses water instead of cream. I know that dairy products mellow the flavor of the chocolate, but I have also been hesitant to combine chocolate and water for fear the chocolate will seize. I hope to post about my attempt soon.


Buttercream

cherry-vanilla cupcakes

There is nothing more frustrating to many readers than buttercream frosting. A classic and main stay, buttercream is also one of the sweetest frostings of the bunch often too sweet for the average adult. I however love American-style buttercream especially paired with a simple cake and in moderation. This post has a pretty typical recipe for American-style buttercream. I understand though that not everyone is a fan. So if I am serving cupcakes to adults I typically do not use buttercream! The only exception I have found is with this recipe, somehow the mint makes the frosting more palatable.

American Style Buttercream

American-style buttercream is simply butter beat with confectioners’ sugar and a little vanilla and a little milk. In order to get to a piping consistency a lot of sugar is required. This results in a very sweet frosting. Like I said I actually like this. I have a sweet tooth though and not everyone does. There is no way I know of to decrease the sweetness of this frosting.

Swiss and Italian Style Buttercream

There are less-sweet alternatives to American style buttercream, Swiss and Italian style buttercreams for example, but these frostings have a different quality that I simply don’t like. They leave a film in my mouth and taste as though they are made with vegetable shortening even if they weren’t. I can’t stand them! Just like I can’t stand Génoise cake, but that is for a different post. But you might like them. Its worth trying for yourself before ruling these styles of buttercream frostings out of your repertoire.

The bad news is that I don’t have any recipes for Swiss or Italian style buttercream frostings. In this case, google is your friend.


Cream Cheese

sweet corn cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting

Cream cheese frosting is my friend. It is my very favorite frosting to use. It’s always a crowd pleaser and balances out the sweetness of any cake well. I work with two versions. One has a higher proportion of cream cheese. It is tangy, on the soft side, and my preference for recipes where I want to really taste the cream cheese (carrot cake, hummingbird cake, red velvet, etc). The second version has less cream cheese. The cream cheese tang is more subtle and its really just there to balance the sweetness of the sugar. I use that recipe as an alternative to buttercream for just about any cake.

Cream cheese frosting takes on flavor very well. Just to give you an idea, this recipe uses Thai Ice Tea as a flavor, this recipe uses citrus, this uses ginger and this uses tarragon. But there are more, just peruse the table of contents to find other flavor suggestions.

I have jut started using the “buttercream alternative” method. Here are some examples, one with matcha and one with salted caramel. But any of the above cream cheese recipes can be adjusted to this method by simply decreasing the amount of cream cheese and increasing the amount of butter.


Meringue Frosting

The thing I love about meringue frosting is how easy it is to have a dramatic presentation. It’s sweet, but not sweet as butter cream. It takes flavor well, but don’t try to add a substantial amount of liquid. It will collapse. Small amounts of extracts (vanilla, mint, lemon), spices, very thick flavored simple syrup, or crushed things (like red hots). And the best thing about meringue is that you can take your culinary torch to it.


Whipped Cream

I don’t use whipped cream very often. It’s just not terribly exciting. I pair it with a cupcake that is plenty exciting on its own like this one. It is very easy to adjust the sweetness though. So, if you have a very sweet cake, whipped cream is a good option. Beware, it doesn’t hold well. So if you use it, keep the whipped cream refrigerated until you are ready to use it and frost the cupcakes just before serving.

There are of course other frosting options, but this is all I have for now. Part 2 of the series will cover frosting technique, frequently asked questions, and more on flavoring frostings.

Cranberry White Chocolate Cupcakes8

Posted by in Berries, Cheese, White Chocolate (Monday December 3, 2007 at 4:49 pm)

Cranberry White Chocolate Cupcakes

This recipe is for Leslie, a reader who asked for a recipe for cranberry white chocolate cupcakes to serve at Christmas. I jumped on the combo as I had been wanting to try converting the rich chocolate cupcake I do so often into a white chocolate version. I tweaked the recipe to adjust for the sweetness of the white chocolate, but otherwise stuck to the original. The recipe needs work in the looks department, but taste-wise its great! I’ve heard only positive feedback from the tasters and my husband, who is very picky when it comes to cupcakes, devoured a number of them before I even had time to make the frosting.

As far as looks go, the top of the cupcake has a funny texture (see photo below) and the cupcakes rose some and fell back slightly. This was less obvious the day of, but more prominent the second day. By day two they had shrunk quite a bit. As for the funny texture on top, I am not fazed as it gets covered with frosting anyway. The shrinking aspect might bother the perfectionist in some of us, but if they are served the same day, it will be less obvious. If I have time to work on the recipe before the holidays I will be sure to post an update.

In the taste department, the cupcakes were quite nice. I could taste the white chocolate, but it wasn’t too sweet, something that I expected. The tartness of the cranberries definitely helps. The frosting is yummy as usual, nothing to worry about there. When is frosting not good?

Speaking of frosting, I am still working on my frosting post. I have had to divide it into two posts as its getting way too long. The first will be about the recipes themselves and the second about tips for flavoring frosting as well as piping technique. I hope to get the first post out shortly.

Cupcakes
regular cupcakes / 375 degree oven

7 ounces white chocolate
2 sticks butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 eggs
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup dried cranberries

1. Chop chocolate and transfer into the bowl of a standing mixer.
2. Add butter to the chocolate and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate melts and butter is combined.
3. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Note that when you add the sugar the mixture will separate and look pretty funky. This is ok.
4. Let mixture cool for 10 minutes.
5. Add the vanilla. Beat in an electric mixer for 3 minutes. Mixture will thicken and you should no longer see butter floating on the top.
6. Add one egg at a time, mixing for 10 seconds between each.
7. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into the mixture, return to the electric mixer, and mix until blended.
8. Roughly chip the cranberries. Stir into the batter.
9. Scoop into cupcake cups 2/3s full and transfer to a 375 F oven.
10. Set your timer for 5 minutes. When the 5 minutes is up turn the oven down to 350 F.
11. Set your timer for 10 minutes. When the 10 minutes is up rotate the pans. (Move the bottom to the top rack and turn front to back.
12. Set your timer for 7 minutes more. When the 7 minutes is up test one of the top-center cupcakes with a toothpick and remove the cupcakes once it comes out clean.

Note: The batter is pretty liquidy and the cranberries very heavy, so they will fall to the bottom. I was pleased with the layering effect, but if you aren’t into that idea I recommend two options. Either dust the cranberries in flour before mixing into the batter or drop some into each individual filled cupcake before baking.

cranberry white chocolate cupcake
baked cupcake

Cranberry, Clove, White Chocolate Buttercream

8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 package (8 ounces) philly cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
[optional] 1/4 teaspoon ground clove

1. In a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water, gently melt the white chocolate. Allow to cool for 2 minutes or so.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy.
2. Beat in the melted white chocolate.
3. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar, vanilla, and clove and beat at low speed, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl, until light and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar to arrive at the consistency and sweetness you like. 2 cups worked for me.

Assemble
1. Top cooled cupcakes with the frosting.
2. Top with a decoration, chopped cranberries, or chopped walnuts.

white chocolate
white chocolate

Blueberry & Raspberry Ricotta Almond Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting60

Posted by chockylit in Berries, Cheese, Italian-Inspired, Nuts (Sunday May 20, 2007 at 12:42 pm)

blueberry ricotta almond cupcake with cream cheese frosting

It was bound to happen. Can’t be pregnant, be a cupcake baker, and not make pink and blue cupcakes, right? I made these for the last day of birthing class. We have a snack break every class and it’s always filled with healthy savory treats. So, while I was bringing cupcakes, I wanted to make them relatively “healthy” (without sacrificing taste, of course).

This recipe is a slight variation from one I made a while back. I wanted to try using fresh almonds (hooray for vitamin E and “good” fat) instead of almond paste. The resulting cake was good, but not “almondy” enough. Next time around I would add a half teaspoon of almond extract. I actually really liked the grainy texture that the ground almonds added. But if this sounds unappealing to you, stick to the almond paste (or really grind the hell out of your almonds). As with the last recipe, this one turned out very moist. I could see these standing up to a few days of refrigeration.

I figured between the almonds, the berries, the eggs, the ricotta, and the cream cheese, I ended up with a fairly balanced treat. Fruits, healthy fats, protein, etc. to counter the heavy dose of sugar (yum, sugar). But to keep myself honest, I used my copy of Accuchef software to calculate the nutritional value. Scroll to the very end if you are curious, but perhaps some things are better left unknown…

On a side note, I have had to turn on comment moderation for the time being. So while it may seem like your comment has been posted, it will not show up on the blog until I approve it. This will hopefully be temporary. If anyone has any questions about this, feel free to email me directly.

Cupcakes
~15 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

4 ounces almonds, slivered/peeled
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 stick butter, unsalted/room temp
4 eggs, large/room temp
2/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raspberries
1/2 cup blueberries

1. Grind almonds with 2 tablespoons sugar in a food processor until very fine. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer.
2. Gradually add the remaining 1 cup of sugar to the ground almonds while beating at low speed.
3. Add the ricotta and beat to combine.
4. While beating at low speed, add a tablespoon of butter at a time, waiting for the butter to incorporate until adding the next pat. The butter must be at room temperature or it will not incorporate well.
5. Stop the mixer, scrape the bowl, then beat at medium for about 2 minutes.
6. Crack eggs into a bowl and break up with a fork. At low speed gradually add eggs about a tablespoon at a time, waiting for the eggs to incorporate until adding the next bit.
7. Beat again at medium speed for about 2 minutes.
8. Measure out flour, salt, and baking powder into a bowl and whisk to combine.
9. With a rubber spatula, fold flour mixture into the cake batter until combined.
10. Wash and dry the berries. Toss with a small amount of flour. This will help keep the berries from sinking.
11. Fold berries into the batter.
12. Scoop batter into cupcake liners, about 2/3s full.
13. Bake at 350 for about ~25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean

Note: I wanted “pink” and “blue” cupcakes so I divided the batter in two and added blueberries to one and raspberries to the other. You could do this, mix the berries, or even use different fruit.

blueberry ricotta almond cupcakes cooling
cooling cupcakes

Cream Cheese Frosting

12 ounces or 1-1/2 packages of Philly cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
4-5 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Bring butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours.
2. Sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment.
3. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy.
4. Add 4 cups of the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until combined.
5. Add more sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like.

Assembly
1. Frost cupcakes.
2. Top with a candy decoration, berries, or slivered almonds.

Note: I kneaded store-bought white fondant with gel food coloring, rolled out with a little corn starch to prevent sticking, and stamped out small shapes to top the cupcakes.

blueberry & raspberry ricotta almond cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Approximate Nutritional Value per Serving

Without frosting
Per Serving: 216 Cal (50% from Fat, 9% from Protein, 41% from Carb); 5 g Protein; 12 g Tot Fat; 5 g Sat Fat; 5 g Mono Fat; 23 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 16 g Sugar; 51 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 78 mg Sodium; 84 mg Cholesterol

With frosting
Per Serving: 478 Cal (43% from Fat, 6% from Protein, 52% from Carb); 7 g Protein; 23 g Tot Fat; 12 g Sat Fat; 8 g Mono Fat; 63 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 56 g Sugar; 70 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 167 mg Sodium; 117 mg Cholesterol

Green Tea Bubble Cream filled Cupcakes with Green Tea Cream Cheese Frosting35

Posted by chockylit in Asian-Inspired, Cheese, Experimental Recipe, Herbs & Flowers (Saturday January 27, 2007 at 1:00 pm)

green tea cupcakes

I kept these cupcakes fairly simple. They were for a friend’s birthday and I was making them mid-week, so I had little time for fuss or experimentation. I did come up with this “green tea bubble cream” recipe and while it wasn’t 100% successful, the end result was more than acceptable as a cupcake filling. The green tea cream cheese frosting was yummy as expected.

When planning these cupcakes out, I did start to research vanilla cupcakes in a bit more depth as I want to develop a couple of my own vanilla cupcake recipes. While researching existing recipes, I did notice a couple of interesting facts. Firstly, the Magnolia vanilla cupcake recipe and Billy’s vanilla cupcake recipe are nearly identical in proportions with the exception of Billy’s recipe using some cake flour in place of all-purpose and a lot more baking powder. Martha Stewart’s recipe on the other hand had very different proportions with 50% more eggs, 50% more milk and slightly more flour. Lastly, Amy Sedaris’s and Claire Crespo’s recipes are very similar, but on the opposite end of the spectrum than Martha’s with proportionally less eggs. Interesting… I plan to test as many of them as possible (and to research more). Look for that in a hopefully near future post.

Green Tea Bubble Cream (or Tapioca Pudding)

1/4 cup small pearl tapioca
1 cup whole milk
1/2 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
pinch salt
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons matcha green tea

1. Cover the tapioca pearls in warm water in a bowl and let sit on the counter for 20 minutes. Drain the pearls.
2. Heat milk, coconut milk, salt, and pearls over medium-high heat until boiling.
3. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking, stirring regularly, until tapioca are translucent and chewy, approximately 3-5 minutes.
4. While milk and tapioca are coming to a boil, whisk egg yolks in a small bowl and gradually add sugar. Add matcha and whisk together.
5. Add a small amount of the heated milk mixture to the egg mixture, whisking continuously. (An extra set of hands can be helpful.)
6. Pour the egg mixture back into the milk mixture and continue to heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
7. Transfer to a heat proof bowl. Let sit at room temperature until cool. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator until cold, about 1-2 hours or overnight.

Note: The end result is not very sweet. If you like things on the sweet side, I recommend upping the sugar to 1/3 cup. I would if I make this again.

green tea bubble cream
green tea bubble cream

Cupcakes
~28 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add to mixer bowl. Add the milk and vanilla. Mix to combine.
5. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to two-thirds full (depending on whether you want flat or domed cupcakes).
6. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Green Tea Cream Cheese Frosting

12 ounces or 1-1/2 packages of Philly cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon matcha green tea powder
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Bring cheese and butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours
2. Sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment
3. Beat butter and cheese at medium speed until creamy
4. Add half of the sugar, the green tea powder, and the vanilla. Beat until combined.
5. Gradually add remaining sugar (more if you have to) until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like.

Assemble
1. Fill cupcakes using the cone method or any other method.
2. Frost and decorate as desired.

green tea cupcake
topped with fondant disks

Pomegranate-Grapefruit Cupcakes31

Posted by chockylit in Cheese, Citrus, Other Fruits, Step-by-Step Photos (Saturday December 16, 2006 at 1:11 pm)

pomegranate-grapefruit cupcake

Pomegranates fascinate me. I think it’s their vibrant color and their elusiveness. I will admit, the thought of de-seeding a pomegranate deters me from eating them often. This is indeed a shame as they are tasty and apparently very good for you.

I managed to catch an episode of Martha Stewart over the Thanksgiving holiday in which she pleasantly showed us all how to “easily” and cleanly do the de-seeding. While her method of scoring, breaking open, and banging out the seeds over a bowl did direct most of the juice into one area and not all over the counter, it was still time consuming and I was quickly bored after getting through 3 or so of them. Still, what else are you going to do!

After toying with the idea of making a pomegranate filling, I opted to just mix the seeds in the cupcake batter. I actually liked the way this turned out. The seeds didn’t really affect the taste of the batter, but they retained their integrity. So when you bit into the seeds, they were all juicy and flavorful. The one thing I will note is that I couldn’t really taste the grapefruit. The cake part was very delicious, but not grapefruity. This could be good or bad, depending on how you feel about grapefruit. Next time around I would double the zest and see how that turns out. I might also flavor the cream cheese frosting with some zest and juice, but that is up to you.

Grapefruit-Pomegranate Cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grapefruit pulp/juice
2 teaspoons grapefruit zest
2/3 cup (4 ounces) pomegranate seeds, from 1-1/2 medium sized pomegranates

1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
5. Measure out milk and grapefruit juice together. Add zest.
6. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
7. Add about one third the milk/juice mixture and beat until combined.
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and milk and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Mix in pomegranate seeds.
10. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to two-thirds full (depending on whether you want flat or domed cupcakes).
11. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Note: These cupcakes tend to rise quite a bit and will overflow if you put too much batter in the cupcake paper. Keep it under two-thirds full.

Cream Cheese Frosting

12 ounces or 1-1/2 packages of Philly cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Bring cheese and butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours
2. Sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment
3. Beat butter and cheese at medium speed until creamy
4. Add half of the sugar and the vanilla. Beat until combined
5. Gradually add remaining sugar (more if you have to) until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like

finished pomegranate jellies
pomegranate jellies

Pomegranate Jellies adapted from epicurious.com

1-1/2 cup (12 ounces) pomegranate seeds, from 3-1/2 medium sized pomegranates
1/2 cup water
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 (3-oz) packages Certo liquid pectin (not powdered)

1. Bring pomegranate seeds, water, sugar, and butter to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally.
2. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
3. Transfer about half the mixture into a blender and carefully blend for 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl then blend remaining.
4. Force the blended mixture through a medium-mesh sieve back into same pot, pressing on solids with back of a spoon. Throw away the solids.
5. Put an empty plate in freezer to chill.
6. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat and add pectin. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until it starts to thicken, about 45 minutes. To test, remove from heat, then drop a teaspoonful on the chilled plate and chill in the freezer for 1 minute. Tilt plate the plate. The mixture should remain in a firm mound and not run. If mixture runs, continue cooking and stirring and repeat the test every 5 minutes.
7. Remove from the heat and immediately pour mixture into a pan lined with plastic wrap. Gently tap the pan to eliminate any air bubbles.
8. Cool to room temperature, at least 1 hour, then cover surface directly with plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 1 week.
9. Remove from the pan and cut into desired shapes. Toss shapes in granulated sugar.

Assemble
1. Frost cooled cupcakes.
2. Top with a jelly.

scoring the pomegranate
scoring pomegranate

removing pomegranate seeds
banging out seeds

cutting a pomegranate jelly
cutting the jelly

tossing a pomegranate jelly in sugar
tossing in sugar

Fresh Pumpkin Cupcakes with White Chocolate Chunks and Cream Cheese Frosting77

Posted by chockylit in Cheese, Chocolate, General, Simple Recipe, Spices, Squashes & Gourds (Sunday October 22, 2006 at 11:35 am)

fresh pumpkin and white chocolate cupcake

A very good friend came to my house, made a mess of my kitchen making pumpkin muffins and left me with tons of leftover pumpkin meat. The nerve! So, what did I do? Make pumpkin cupcakes, of course.

This is a relatively simple recipe, easy to do, but yummy none the less. Very much like a carrot cake, the pumpkin flavor is subtle and the spices stand out. The cupcakes are not very sweet so the addition of the white chocolate is nice while not being overbearing. I topped them off with a standard cream cheese frosting from a recipe that can be found elsewhere on the blog.

Just a simple, tasty recipe for those leftover pumpkins…

I wanted to mention a couple of other things while I am at it…

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the Worldis a new and unique cupcake cookbook with all vegan recipes. I contributed a recipe for vegan lychee-coconut cupcakes that can be found on page 122. I haven’t received my copy yet, so I can’t tell you much more about it, but I am really looking forward to checking it out. For those of you that have asked about dairy or egg-free recipes, this is the cookbook for you. I also hear that there are some gluten-free recipes as well.

I got an email about a new product. I rarely mention these types of things on the blog, as there are other venues for that, but I am terribly excited about this one. The Cupcake Courier seems like the perfect answer to, “How am I going to get a load of cupcakes to work without damaging them?” Normally I buy the disposable, plastic cupcake containers, but still need to find an appropriately sized bag, etc. I am really looking forward to seeing how well this works for carting cupcakes on the Vespa.

Pumpkin Cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups shredded fresh pumpkin
4 ounces white chocolate, chopped

1. Cut open a pumpkin, take out the seeds and inner flesh, then chop into manageable chunks. Grate the pumpkin chunks, skin and all, with a box grated or food processor until you have four cups of grated flesh.
2. Measure the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg into a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine.
3. Measure the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla into a large size bowl and stir to combine.
4. Add about a fourth of the dry mixture to the wet and stir to combine. Continue adding in fourths until all the dry is incorporated. The result with be a very thick batter (and a sore arm).
5. Fold in the pumpkin and chocolate chunks into the batter and scoop into cupcake papers about 2/3s full.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Assemble
1. Top cooled cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.
2. I decorated the cupcakes with store bought pumpkin candies for the sake of time (and because I actually love/hate those both those and candy corn), but you could always get creative with marzipan if you have the time and inclination.

fresh pumpkin and white chocolate cupcakes

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