Blackberry, Lemon, Vanilla Cupcakes21

Posted by chockylit in Berries, Citrus, Vanilla (Wednesday July 27, 2011 at 9:17 pm)

blackberry lemon cupcake

Summer equals berries in this house. Even if summer also equals fog. (There is something refreshing about walking to work in a cool drizzle in July.) The three of us go through containers of blackberries on a regular basis – we heart blackberries. I was itching to mash some up and make a cupcake out of them. But things are hectic these days and I was having trouble committing. I think I purchased one or two ingredients every shopping trip over two weeks until finally on the way home Tuesday night I stopped at the corner store and thought, “I will see if they have lemons and blackberries”. And they did! Organic, too!

But was fear of rotting fruit going to be enough to get me out of my cupcake funk? I walked the ingredients home with wavering intentions… it was already getting late, I had dinner to cook, work to do, a child to hug! But I new if I got the ingredients measured out, I could get them done in no time.

Ok, maybe it wasn’t that easy (I woke up early to finish them), but they got done and they were yummy! With this combo you can’t go wrong. I like the creaminess of the curd and the looseness of the blackberry mash (I didn’t want to thicken it with too much starch). It made the cupcakes messy, but I just asked everyone to eat them with a spoon. No one seemed to mind.

Vanilla Cupcakes
12 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 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.
5. Measure out milk and vanilla together.
6. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
7. Add about one third the milk/vanilla mixture and beat until combined.
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and milk and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to three-quarters full.
10. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Return the cupcake top

Lemon Curd

2 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons powdered sugar

1. Whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and lemon juice in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 4 minutes.
2. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in butter, piece by piece. Cover with plastic wrap, and cool in the refrigerator.
3. By hand, whip together cream and powdered sugar until soft peaks form.
4. Fold cream into the chilled curd.

Add lemon curd

Blackberry Mash

6 ounce blackberries
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
seeds from 1/4 vanilla bean

1. Heat blackberries, water, and sugar over medium heat until boiling.
2. Mash with a potato masher.
3. Add cornstarch and vanilla bean and cook for a few minutes until thick.
4. Remove from heat and cool.

Cupcake is filled and looking yummy

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces or 1 package of Philly cream cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2-3 cups sifted powdered sugar
seeds from 1/4 of a vanilla bean
vanilla extract to taste

1. Bring cheese and butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours
2. Beat butter until soft and creamy.
3. Add cream cheese and beat until combined.
4. Add half of the sugar and the vanilla bean. Beat until creamy.
5. Gradually add remaining sugar (more if you have to) until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like.
6. Add vanilla extract to taste if the seeds aren’t enough adding in 1/2 teaspoon increments.

Assemble
1. Fill the cupcakes with the lemon curd and blackberry mash using the cone method. This post has step by step photos of the method.
2. Frost.
3. Top with a blackberry.

blackberry lemon cupcake

Watermelon-Chocolate Ice Cream Cupcakes27

Posted by chockylit in Chocolate, Watermelon (Sunday August 15, 2010 at 3:00 pm)

watermelon-chocolate ice cream cupcakes

It’s summer. And in most parts of the US when it is summer, it is warm. Maybe even *hot*. In San Francisco, it’s foggy, drizzly, and 55 degrees. Despite the fact that I have to wear a jacket and scarf when heading out in the morning, I am still thinking of summery things – like ice cream. I have been itching to make an ice cream cupcake and finally got around to it this weekend.

I have done these before – yummy concoctions consisting of layers of cake, ice cream, and frosting – but for my two previous attempts, I made my own ice cream or sorbet. This time around I was hoping to be inspired by my favorite ice cream shop – Humphry Slocombe.

humphry slocombe sorbet for the latest cupcake project

Humphry Slocombe is walking distance from my house. For a while there Naomi and I would head over just about every other Saturday for a cone. We stopped by Friday evening to pick up a couple pints for the cupcake project. (It’s a good time to go, around 6pm on a weekday, there is no line…) The color of the salted watermelon sorbet immediately caught my eye. I confirmed with the guy behind the counter that the fudgsicle sorbet would pair well – he had tasted the combination earlier in the day.

Indeed this cupcake combo is a winner. I am surprisingly pleased with how the watermelon buttercream frosting turned out and the watermelon-chocolate combination, even with a hint of salt, is wonderfully tasty. It feels like summer almost!

The recipes below will make you 12 to 14 ice cream cupcakes with some ice cream and frosting left over.

Chocolate Cake
1 sheet pan / 350 degree oven

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temp
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup high quality unsweetened cocoa powder like Valrhona brand
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
2 Add eggs one at a time and beat until well combined.
3. Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder into a small sized bowl and whisk to combine.
4. Measure out the milk and vanilla and stir to combine.
5. Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar and beat to combine. Add about a half of the milk/vanilla and beat to combine. Continue adding, alternating between dry and wet and finishing with the dry.
6. Spread the batter evenly onto a sheet pan that has been covered in parchment paper and greased well with butter.
7. Bake for about 20-22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Note: Let the cake cool fully in the pan. After about 30 minutes, I flipped the cake on to a second sheet pan and then removed the parchment paper. This seemed to make it easier to cut the rounds, but may have been unnecessary.

smoothing out batter

Watermelon Syrup

~ 2 cups fresh watermelon meat

1. Peel and chop the fresh, seedless watermelon.
2. Using a blender or food processor puree the watermelon.
3. Separate at least 2/3 cup watermelon juice from the pulp by pressing it through a metal sieve.
4. Bring at least 2/3 cup of watermelon juice to boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and boil the juice for about 10-15 minutes or until reduced by almost half.
5. Once again separate the juice from any solids by pouring the a metal sieve. Allow to cool.

peeling fresh watermelon

Watermelon Buttercream Frosting

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup watermelon syrup

1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy.
2. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat, occasionally stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, until light and fluffy.
3. Add watermelon syrup and beat to combine.
4. Add more powdered sugar to arrive at the consistency and sweetness you like.
[optional] Add pink food coloring and beat to combine.

Candied Watermelon Rind Rounds

leftover watermelon rind
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

1. Using a small circle cookie cutter (about 1/2″ diameter) stamp out 14-16 watermelon rind rounds.
2. In a small saucepan combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil.
3. Add the rounds, reduce heat to low, and cook for about 10 minutes.
4. Take off the heat and let sit for about 5 minutes.
5. Remove the rounds and place on a wire grate to cool.
6. After cooled, roll the rounds in sugar.

stamping out circles

Assemble
Something like this setwill come in handy when making these sorts of cupcakes. As will the type of cupcake papers I use. You will also need room in your freezer to freeze the cupcakes in between steps.

1. Find the right sized cutter to get a cupcake round for the bottom and top of the cupcake. I had to use to very different sized cutters.
2. Eyeball how many cupcakes you can get out of the sheet pan before you start cutting. I eyeballed about 14 which is what I got.
3. Stamp out the bottoms and tops.
4. Fill each cupcake paper with a bottom round of cake.
5. Take your first ice cream flavor out of the freezer and transfer it into a bowl. Mix it with a wooden spoon to soften.
6. Scoop a small scoop of ice cream into each cupcake. Smooth out with the back of a spoon. Transfer the cupcakes to the freezer to chill for 20-30 minutes.
7. Now repeat with the second ice cream flavor and chill again for about 10 minutes.
8. Now top with the last cupcake round and chill again for 10 or so minutes.
9. Now top with buttercream frosting and a candied watermelon rind round.

Note: Store cupcakes in the freezer. Let them sit at room temperature for 10 or so minutes before serving. Firm ice cream works best for these projects otherwise the ice cream gets very melty…

ice cream cupcake cross section

Orange Cupcakes with Jasmine Petal Jelly18

Posted by chockylit in Citrus, Herbs & Flowers (Sunday March 14, 2010 at 9:41 am)

orange cupcake with jasmine petal jelly and vanilla cream cheese frosting

My daughter inspired this cupcake. I asked her what color and flavor cupcake she wanted and she said orange. So, orange it was. I mulled over what to pair it with. I am not a huge fan of orange with chocolate and I wanted to keep the orange bright tasting – so no spices. A lunchtime trip to the Ferry Building resulted in the purchase of some jellied jasmine flowers. Sounded like a good combo to me.

The cupcakes have a nice and noticeable orange flavor. The jasmine flower jelly doesn’t provide much of a flavor hit, but the sweetness is a nice addition. The vanilla cream cheese frosting provides that anyway in addition to a luscious creaminess. In other words, don’t rush out and by jasmine petal jelly…

I think the orange cupcake is a great foundation to go in a lot of directions – definitely chocolate for those who like that combination, I can see something nutty working well, berries, etc. There are lots of ideas on the Cupcake blog facebook page from readers… They all sound wonderful.

I made some candied kumquats using this method but abbreviated as a topper.

Orange Cupcakes
~28 regular cupcakes / 375 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
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup orange juice/pulp from one orange
2 teaspoons orange extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of one half orange

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.
5. Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and beat to combine. Add about a half of the milk and beat to combine. Continue adding, alternating between dry and wet and finishing with the dry.
6. Add the orange juice, orange extract, vanilla extract and orange zest, beat to combine.
7. Scoop into cupcake papers about half full.
8. Place cupcakes in the oven and turn the oven down to 350 degrees. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

jasmine petal jelly
jasmine petal jelly

jasmine petal jelly filling
filling the cupcakes

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temperature
1-1/2 packages of Philly cream cheese
3-4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Beat butter at medium speed until creamy.
2. Add cream cheese and beat until combined.
3. Sift 3 cups of the powdered sugar into the butter and cream cheese. Add the vanilla extract. Beat until combined.
4. Add more sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like. I used 4 cups.

candied kumquats
candied kumquats

Assemble
1. Fill the cooled cupcakes using the cone method.
2. Frost.
3. Top off with candied kumquats or whatever suits you.

cone of frosting
cone of frosting

Pomegranate Green Tea Cupcakes14

Posted by chockylit in Experimental Recipe, Green Tea (Monday November 16, 2009 at 6:21 pm)

Pomegranate Green Tea Cupcakes

Two super foods in one tasty cupcake? Why not. In this creation the green tea actually takes a back seat to the pomegranate whose tart flavor takes center stage. I revisited an earlier green tea cupcake recipe and mixed in some pomegranate seeds at the end. But where the pomegranate flavor really shines is in the frosting (and the many pomegranates I topped each cupcake with)…

I wanted to celebrate the pomegranate’s tartness and ended up with what I will describe as a pomegranate foam. The texture may be off-putting to some, but the end result was indeed a not-overly-sweet, tart “frosting” as envisioned.

Covering the whole cupcake with seeds had its pros and cons. On the good side, it covers up the frosting which isn’t so pleasing to the eye and makes for a gorgeous cupcake. On the not-so-good side, pomegranate seeds in abundance are odd from a texture standpoint, but you could take a cue from my daughter and pick each one off and eat them before tearing into the cupcake itself.

I definitely think these cupcakes could make an awesome holiday display!

Pomegranate Green Tea Cupcakes
12 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 tablespoons green tea (matcha) powder
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

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 egg/egg yolk one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and matcha in a bowl.
5. Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar and beat to combine. Add about a half of the milk and beat to combine. Continue adding, alternating between dry and wet and finishing with the dry.
6. Fold in pomegranate seeds.
7. Scoop into cupcake cups about 2/3s full. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Note: Normally I would get fresh, whole pomegranates and deal with the messiness of removing the seeds. Recently both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s started carrying fresh pomegranate seeds. I find them to be reliable sources of pomegranate seeds and recommend that route when you need them in bulk.

Pomegranate Seeds

Pomegranate Foam

1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon sugar (plus more to taste)
3 egg whites

1. Heat pomegranate juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture is boiling. Reduce to a simmer.
2. Simmer mixture until its reduced by half about 5-8 minutes.
3. Beat egg whites in the bowl of your electric mixer with the whisk attachment until foamy, about 3 minutes.
4. Slowly pour the very hot, reduced pomegranate juice into the egg whites while whisking at medium speed.
5. Continue to beat on medium-high speed until the mixture cools, about 5 to 10 minutes more.

One cupcake was consumed in the taking of these pictures

Assembly
1. Top each cooled cupcake with pomegranate foam. A pastry bag with a large tip simplifies this.
2. Cover each frosted cupcake with pomegranate seeds. The more the merrier.

Pomegranate Green Tea Cupcakes

Fig and Quinoa Cupcakes19

Posted by chockylit in Fig, Quinoa (Sunday October 11, 2009 at 3:29 pm)

Fig and Quinoa Cupcakes

Quinoa is some kind of wonder food (at least according to my daughter’s pediatrician) as it’s a unique complete protein and is gluten-free. My husband eats it often as a part of his generally healthy diet. It was his birthday this week so I thought to incorporate one of his current favorite foods into a cupcake.

I wanted this recipe to have quinoa in it, but I didn’t want it to taste healthy. It is a cupcake after all. So I started with a basic cake recipe, swapped some flour for cooked quinoa, and called it a day. The resulting cake was moist and tasty with a nice crunch/chew from the quinoa. It did however not rise up so much and shrunk a bit after cooling.

But that didn’t bother me in the least. What was to be fig filling became a fig layer and it all worked out great. I cooked up some figs with vanilla and sugar (they weren’t super ripe), layered some of the cooled mixture on each cupcake, and topped that with a dollop of cream cheese frosting. All together a tasty treat that everyone enjoyed.

As a final note, I used black quinoa I bought at Whole Foods. I tried the black as I thought it would look more interesting than the plain. Having tried both, it’s also a bit crunchier (in a good way) and nuttier. There is also red quinoa which would likely work just as well.

Quinoa Cupcakes
26 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

3/4 cup quinoa
1-1/2 cups water
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Rinse the quinoa well in a fine sieve under a stream of cool water. This will remove a natural coating that tends to make quinoa bitter.
2. Bring the quinoa and water to a boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Remove lid and cook off any remaining liquid. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
4. Beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined.
6. Measure the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
7. Measure out the milk and vanilla and stir to combine.
8. Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar and beat to combine. Add about a half of the milk/vanilla and beat to combine. Continue adding, alternating between dry and wet and finishing with the dry.
9. Fold in the cooked quinoa.
10. Scoop batter into cupcake cups about 3/4’s full. Turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake cupcakes for about 22-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Note: These cupcakes won’t rise up very much due to the weight of the quinoa and will contract some with cooling.

Quinoa Cupcakes

Fig Filling

16 ounces figs, chopped
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons sugar

1. Add figs and water to a medium saucepan.
2. Add the vanilla and stir in the sugar and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer.
4. After 10 minutes mash the figs in the pot with a potato masher.
5. Taste and adjust with more sugar if needed.
6. Cover and refrigerate until cool about 2 hours.

Fig and Quinoa Cupcakes

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temperature
1-1/2 packages of Philly cream cheese
3-4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Beat butter at medium speed until creamy.
2. Add cream cheese and beat until combined.
3. Sift 3 cups of the powdered sugar into the butter and cream cheese. Beat until combined.
4. Add more sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like. I used 4 cups.

Fig and Quinoa Cupcakes

Assemble
1. Top the cooled cupcakes with a layer of fig filling.
2. Frost with a dollop of frosting.
3. Top off with a slice of fig.

Bacon Cupcakes Two Ways17

Posted by chockylit in Bacon, Chocolate, Corn, Experimental Recipe, Maple (Thursday October 1, 2009 at 1:35 pm)

chocolate, toffee, bacon cupcake

I have tried my hand at bacon cupcakes before and some of my coworkers were huge fans. I was planning some celebratory cupcakes for work and I decided on bringing back the bacon. I was tentative with my inclusion of bacon last time around and I was looking for a chance to push it a bit more.

The frosting is subtle enough that it works on both cupcakes. But to be frank, if I do the sweet corn version again, I want to find a way to nicely push the maple flavor. I am thinking maple candy chunks in the frosting. The sweet corn version is great though. The corn was super juicy and the bacon flavor just enough. I also really liked the chocolate version. It’s hard to go wrong with chocolate and toffee anyway, but the salty, smokiness of the bacon took it to another level.

Sweet Corn and Bacon Cupcakes
~24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1-1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup grape seed oil (or any tasteless vegetable oil)
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon maple syrup
5 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1 cup corn kernels, fresh, cut off the cob
4 slices cooked bacon cut into chunks

1. Sift flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder into the bowl of a standing mixer.
2. In a medium bowl, combine oil, egg yolks, water, and maple syrup. Stir to combine.
3. On a low setting, start to beat the dry mixture and slowly add the wet. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat until ingredients are incorporated.
4. Transfer mixture to another bowl. Wash and dry mixer bowl.
5. 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.
6. Scoop a cupful of the stiff egg whites into the batter and stir to combine. This will lighten up the batter.
7. Transfer the batter to the egg whites and gently fold until there are no more streaks of egg white.
8. Gently fold in the corn kernels and bacon.
9. Scoop into cupcake cups about 2/3’s full. Bake at 350 F for 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

corn

Bacon, Toffee, Chocolate Cupcakes
~20 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temp
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup high quality unsweetened cocoa powder like Valrhona brand
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-1/2 slices cooked bacon cut into chunks
1/3 cup chopped chocolate covered toffee, Poco Dolce or other brand

1. Beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
2 Add egg and beat until well combined.
3. Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder into a small sized bowl and whisk to combine.
4. Measure out the milk and vanilla and stir to combine
5. Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar and beat to combine. Add about a half of the milk/vanilla and beat to combine. Continue adding, alternating between dry and wet and finishing with the dry.
6. Gently fold in the bacon and toffee chunks.
7. Scoop batter into cupcake cups about 1/2-2/3’s full. Bake cupcakes for about 22-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

yum, bacon

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

2-1/2 packages of Philly cream cheese
1 stick butter
5-8 cups sifted powdered sugar
~1/4 cup maple syrup

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 3 cups of the powdered sugar and maple syrup. Beat until combined.
5. Add more maple syrup and confectioners sugar until you get to the flavor, consistency, and sweetness you like.

sweet corn, maple, bacon cupcake

Assemble
1. Frost cooled cupcakes.
2. Top with a piece of maple sugar candy or crispy bacon.

Grape Cupcakes3

Posted by chockylit in Vanilla (Wednesday May 13, 2009 at 4:15 pm)

grape cupcakes

I made these cupcakes specifically to celebrate the launch of a product at work — code named “Grape”. That’s all I needed, an excuse to make grape cupcakes. I knew at the outset I didn’t want these to be cloyingly sweet. I also would have preferred to make them in the fall when I could maybe get my hands on some fresh concord grapes. But the timing was such that these were getting done in the spring and I settled with a combination of organic, unsweetened concord grape juice and black seedless grapes. I started with a simple vanilla bean cupcake, filled it with the tart grape filling, and topped it off with a nicely sweet cream cheese frosting spiked with a touch of grape syrup for color and flavor.

It’s a nice combination and was a hit. The filling is quite tart and I am glad I skipped both adding too much sugar or using any kind of thickener in the filling. Even if you aren’t a huge fan of grapes, you might like this recipe.

Am I back? I am not sure. I know that the new site didn’t inspire me to action like I had hoped. I also know that the demands of work, a toddler, and what not make it difficult to come up with recipes on a regular basis. But as I have them, I will post new recipes for your enjoyment.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
26 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 flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out

1. Beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined.
3. Measure the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
4. Measure out the milk and vanilla and stir to combine. Scrape out the vanilla bean seeds into the milk.
5. Add about a third of the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar and beat to combine. Add about a half of the milk/vanilla and beat to combine. Continue adding, alternating between dry and wet and finishing with the dry.
6. Scoop batter into cupcake cups about 2/3’s full. Turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake cupcakes for about 22-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

grape cupcake cross section

Tart Grape Filling

10 ounces concord grape juice, unsweetened
6 ounces grapes, black and seedless
2 teaspoons sugar

1. Add juice and grapes to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in the sugar.
2. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer.
3. After 10 minutes mash the grapes in the pot with a potato masher.
4. Continue to simmer until almost all the liquid is reduced about 20 minutes.
5. Cover and refrigerate until cool about 2 hours.

Grape Cream Cheese Frosting

3/4 cup concord grape juice, unsweetened
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
1 package of Philly cream cheese
3-4 cups sifted powdered sugar

1. Bring juice to a boil in a small saucepan. Allow to boil until reduced to a syrup about 15 minutes.
2. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy.
3. Sift 3 cups of the powdered sugar into the butter and cream cheese. Add the grape syrup. Beat until combined.
4. Add more sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like. I used 4 cups.

grape cupcake cross section

Assemble
1. Fill the cooled cupcakes using the cone method.
2. Frost.
3. Top off with a grape, a grape jelly, or whatever decoration you have on hand. Chopped, salted peanuts might also be nice.

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