Lemon Cupcakes with Bitters, Sorrel, and Toasted Meringue25

Posted by in Citrus,Drink-Inspired,Experimental Recipe,Herbs & Flowers (Sunday January 6, 2008 at 3:59 pm)

Lemon Cupcakes with Bitters, Sorrel, and Toasted Meringue

January and citrus are a natural pair when it comes to me and cupcakes. As is typical, I ate too much chocolate and too many sweets over the holidays and really had to dig deep to find the motivation to even think of baking. But dig deep I did… Well, actually, I perused the latest issue of Imbibe (I will admit I have a recipe and photo featured in an article about cooking with tea) and stumbled on many a drink recipe that provided just the inspiration I needed.

I settled quickly on bitters as a way to counteract my overindulgence in sweets. I love bitters. Likely because I love(d) to drink Manhattans. This combination came from a couple different drink recipes (both by Lance J. Mayhew of Meriwether’s in Portland, Oregon). The bitterness and tartness of bitters and lemon appealed to my post-holiday’s sensibilities. I decided on a lemon chiffon cake to keep it light and meringue for the same reason. The end result is a pillow of sweet/bitter/tartness that is quite sophisticated (especially for a cupcake). This recipe likely won’t be for everyone and I will be interested to see how they go over at work tomorrow. I was pleased with the experience though.

Lemon Cupcakes
~20 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1-1/2 cups flour (cake if you have it, otherwise all-purpose)
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup grape seed oil or vegetable oil
4 egg yolks (approximately 3 ounces)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon extract, all natural
grated rind from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon bitters
5 egg whites (approximately 5 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1/4 cup sugar

1. Sift flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder into the bowl of a standing mixer.
2. In a medium bowl, combine oil, egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon extract, lemon rind, and bitters. Stir to combine.
3. 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.
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 should 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. Scoop into cupcake cups about 2/3s full and bake at 350 F for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

batter & egg whites
step 6

lemon cupcakes with bitters
baked cupcakes

Sorrel Simple Syrup

1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon chopped Sorrel

1. Add sugar and water to a small saucepan set over medium high heat.
2. Heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until fairly thick, about 2 minutes
3. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in Sorrel and set aside to cool.

Sorrel Meringue Frosting

1/2 cup sugar
3 egg whites
Sorrel simple syrup
Splash of Bitters

1. Whisk the egg whites and sugar over a water bath in the standing mixer bowl until it reaches a temperature of 110 degrees Fahrenheit. This only takes only a few of minutes.
2. Transfer to standing mixer and whisk using whisk attachment at high speed until soft peaks form.
3. With the mixer on medium speed, drizzle sorrel syrup into the mixer. Splash in a bit of bitters. Beat on high until stiff peaks form.

bitters
bitters

Assemble
1. Pipe meringue frosting.
2. Toast with a culinary or blow torch.

piping meringue

Pine Nut and Candied Orange Peel Cupcakes with Christmas Spice Buttercream Frosting13

Posted by in Citrus,Experimental Recipe,Italian-Inspired,Seeds,Spices (Wednesday December 19, 2007 at 2:35 pm)

pine nut and candied orange peel cupcake with christmas spice buttercream

I will be frank. I am not a fan of pine nuts. They fell out of favor with me back in the 90’s or whenever it was that every restaurant was serving them in their dishes. They are new to my husband however and, go figure, he likes them. So, when he rushed off to be with family leaving me with a container of pine nuts that were bound to spoil, I thought, “time for pine nut cupcakes.”

The pine nut idea morphed quickly and easily into an Italian-style fruit cake concept. I started and ended with candied orange peel. I was so close to throwing in some more dried or candied fruits, but feared venturing too far into fruit cake territory. I am also not a fan of fruit cake. The resulting was interesting. Its hard for me to be objective here as the cake tasted very pine nutty and like I said… don’t like ‘em. Anyway, husband returned and he gave them his seal of approval. So, if you or someone you know likes pine nuts, give the recipe a try.

I topped them with a small amount of very spicy buttercream. I liked the buttercream very much. While sweet and intense in flavor , it definitely said “holidays” to me.

Well, the Porro family is traveling over the holidays. I will be baking cupcakes at my destination, but I am not sure if I will be posting. Never the less, you will see me back in the new year with more cupcake recipes and a follow up frosting post (hopefully with video)!

Happy New Year!

Cupcakes
~15 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

3/4 cup pine nuts
1 stick butter, unsalted/room temp
1/4 light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs, large/room temp
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup candied orange peel, roughly chopped (see below)

1. Toast pine nuts at 350 for 7 minutes. Grind pine nuts with in a food processor. I removed some of the nuts (about 1/4) while they were still chunky then ground the rest up a bit more. Pine nuts are oily so they never get very fine and they will start to clump up.
2. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
3. Add the brown sugar and regular sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
4. Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated.
5. Add the ground pine nuts. Beat to combine.
6. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
7. Measure out orange juice and vanilla together.
8. Add about a third of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
9. Add all of the juice/vanilla mixture and beat until combined.
10. Add another third of the flour mixture and beat to combine.
11. Add the ricotta cheese and beat to combine.
12. Add the rest of the flour and beat to combine. Mix in the orange peel.
13. Scoop into cupcake papers about three-quarters full. Note that these cupcakes will shrink slightly when they cool.
14. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Christmas Spice Buttercream

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground clove

1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Sift sugar into the butter. Add vanilla and spices and beat to combine.
3. Add more powdered sugar to arrive at the consistency and sweetness you like. 2 cups worked for me.

Note: This is a very spicy buttercream. If that doesn’t sound appealing to you add half the amount of spices to start with. I liked its holiday flavor-intensity.

christmas spice mix

Assemble
1. Top cooled cupcakes with the frosting.
2. Top with a decoration, chopped orange peel, or whatever you have.

Candied Orange Peel
Why reinvent the wheel? Nic over at the Baking Sheet has already gone and posted a recipe for candied orange peel. I have used this recipe in the past and used it again this time around.

candied orange peel
tossing peel in sugar

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

Adzuki Bean Paste Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Matcha Green Tea Frosting34

Posted by in Beans,Chocolate,Herbs & Flowers,Japanese-Inspired (Tuesday November 13, 2007 at 5:20 pm)

Adzuki Bean Paste Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Matcha Green Tea Frosting

This combination was swiped right off of the menu of a restaurant I ate at last week. The dessert was green tea ice cream with warm chocolate sauce, adzuki bean, and mochi. Interestingly, I had used all the components (minus the mochi) in various cupcakes so it was just a matter of “cut and paste” with some tweaks. I really liked the combination in the ice cream dessert and it totally works as a cupcake, too. All around tasty treat for sure. I doubled up on the matcha in the frosting this time around. I wanted to really taste it… Hence the very deep green color.

And just a heads up, I have been itching to do a post about frostings. Why I have a handful of different chocolate ganache frostings and why I use a certain recipe at a certain time… Why I have a couple different cream cheese based frostings… Etc. A few people have asked me about this and I think it’s an interesting topic anyway. I am hoping to have ample time to explore various recipes over the Thanksgiving holiday. I doubt I will post next weekend as its my birthday and I do not plan on baking my own cake this year…

Red Bean Paste

1-1/4 cups red adzuki beans
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar

1. Cover beans in cold water and soak uncovered, overnight.
2. Drain, transfer back to the pot and cover in 5 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
3. Drain and puree with a hand blender or in a food processor.
4. Press through a metal sieve. Note: This is time consuming work. The pureed beans become a thick paste and it takes some time to press through the sieve, clean off the underside, continue pressing until most of the bean puree passes through and the skins are left behind.
5. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add pureed beans and sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon for about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to cool.
6. After the paste has cooled, scoop out 1/2″ balls. Cover loosely with plastic wrap so they won’t dry out.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cocoa powdered
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1-1/2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating 30 seconds after each addition.
3. Measure the flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, and espresso powder into a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine.
4. Measure the milk and vanilla into a measuring thing.
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. Plop a ball of bean paste in each. Push down slightly and cover with batter using the back of a spoon.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Note: Because you will be stuffing these cupcakes with bean paste, do not overfill. Stay close to 2/3s full or below. Also I like to preheat my oven to 375 then turn it down to 350 once I put the cupcakes in to make sure there are no cool spots which tend to result in cupcake overflow.

Adzuki Bean Paste Filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Matcha Green Tea Frosting

Matcha Green Tea Frosting

2 sticks butter
8 ounces or 1 package of Philly cream cheese
3 cups powdered sugar
~2 tablespoons matcha powder

1. Bring butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours.
2. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy.
3. Sift 3 cups of powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of matcha powder into the butter/cream cheese mixture and beat to combine.
4. Taste. Add more matcha if desired (I find some matcha powder is stronger then others) and more powdered sugar if its not thick enough. 3 cups worked for me.

Assemble
1. Top cooled cupcakes with the frosting.
2. Top with a mochi disk and a dusting of matcha.

Note: Never having made mochi before I did a quick google search and ended up with this quick method. After nuking the flour and water, I stirred it some and transfered onto a sheet of plastic wrap and formed it into a log. I left the log to cool then sliced into it with a knife and cut out circles with the end of a pastry tip. From there I dusted lightly in corn starch to prevent sticking. Note that you should keep the disks wrapped in plastic wrap until you serve the cupcakes as they go crunchy when left out in the air. The wrapped mochi held up well overnight.

Cupcake Round-Up II: the results are in!7

Posted by in General (Monday October 29, 2007 at 1:23 pm)

The roundup results are in and there are lots of tasty looking cupcakes for you to drool over!

Here is how round-up II faired compared to the first one… There were definitely less submissions this time around, I would say a 30% drop. That is fine, we still had 39 folks participating and that is pretty good by my book. The drop in submissions was seen mostly in the chocolatey cupcakes category with spicy, fruity, and other staying pretty much the same from round-up one to two.

I could definitely see the fall influence in a lot of the recipes. And Garrett and I both so appreciate the level of creativity with some of the flavor combinations. Just peruse the list and you will see. A huge thank you to everyone who took the time to participate and spread the cupcake love.

Spicy Cupcakes

Pumpkin Chili Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache and Pumpkin Brittle
By Monica of
The Pastry Princess Blog

Arroz con Leche Cupcakes
By Gretchen of
Canela y Comino

Tuesday Afternoon Tea Cupcake
By Georgia of
Notes on Tea

Cashew, Carrot, Cardamom Cupcakes with Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting
By Cheryl of
Cupcake Bakeshop

Ginger Cupcakes with Candied Ginger Cream
By Alecia of
Insomniack

Pumpkin Bread Pudding Cupcakes with Apple Chai Glaze
By Brina of
Brina Bakes and Blogs

Apple Pie Cupcakes
By Mary of
Alpineberry

Pecan Pie Cupcakes (VEGAN!)
By Ros Vaeth of
Humanity Starts at Thought

Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcake
By Stefanie of
Cupcake Project

“Lil’ Pumpkin” Saffron Honeycakes
By Kristy of
Cakegrrl’s Cakery

Chocolatey Cupcakes

Bananas Foster Cupcakes
By Katie of
Salt and Chocolate

Red Wine Cupcakes
By Dana of
Dulcedo

Chocolate Cupcakes with Coconut Icing
By Teri of
The Daily Raw Cafe’

Banana Chocolate Cupcakes with Maple Frosting
By Sarah and Amelia of
Cuppin’ Cakes

Drunken Devil’s Food Espresso Cupcakes
By Sara of
Ms. Adventures in Italy

Fondue Cupcakes
By Adrienne of
Aubedes etc

Fruity Cupcakes

Apple Pie Cupcakes
By Lisa of
Spicy Icecream

Mango Kulfi Cupcakes
By Roopa of
Raspberry Eggplant

Tropical Getaway Cupcakes
By Jessica of
Kitchen by the Sea

Banana Cream Cupcakes
By Amy of
Dessertations

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes
By Monica of
The Pastry Princess Blog

Linzer Cupcakes
By Steph of
A Whisk and a Spoon

Black Licorice Cupcakes with Orange Marshmallow Frosting
By Jaime of
Baking Memories

Apple Pudding Cupcakes with Bourbon Spiked Buttercream Frosting
By Lauren of
City by the Blog

Fresh Apple Cupcakes
By Gina of
Bradlee & Gina

Parsnip-Apple Cupcakes
By Meredith of
Cooking 101

Honey Orange Beet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Cupcakes
By Danielle of
The Graduated Bumblebee

Lavendar Pear Bear Cupcakes
By Roopa of
Raspberry Eggplant

Pomegranate Matcha Cupcakes
By Roopa of
Raspberry Eggplant

Fuzzy Navel Cupcake
By Laurie of
Quirky Cupcake

Poached Pear Cupcake
By Julie of
One-Wall Kitchen

Banana Pudding Cupcake
By Hannah of
Hannah’s Baking Edeavors

Canadian Thanksgiving Cupcake
By Sarah of
Sarah’s Sugar & Spice

Eton Mess Cupcakes
By Kirsten of
Hide & Seek

Other Cupcakes

Amaretti & Butternut Cupcakes
By Garrett of
Vanilla Garlic

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes
By Mary Jo of
Bash Cakes

Vanilla Cupcakes with Flan Filling and Purple Yam Frosting
By Aubrey of
The Other Side

Candy Corn Cupcakes
By Lara of
aral_traven

Petit Pois Muffins
By Charlotte & Freddie of
The Great Big Veg Challenge

Cupcake-a-touille!
By Tanya of
Luck x8

Cashew, Carrot, Cardamom Cupcakes with Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting23

Posted by in Carrots,Indian-Inspired,Nuts,Spices (Sunday October 21, 2007 at 4:47 pm)

cashew, carrot, cardamom cupcakes with cashew cream cheese frosting

This recipe is inspired by a delicious dessert I had when I was last in India. I actually didn’t know the name of the dessert, but I described it to my coworker and she informed me that what I had was Gajar Halwa or carrot pudding. I considered two preparations, one where I made the pudding and stuffed cupcakes with it and the second where I made the pudding and put it directly in to the batter. I opted for the second, simpler preparation. We were having an amazing weekend in San Francisco and I didn’t want to spend it all indoors.

These cupcakes are delicious and completely edible (meaning I could eat and eat them). The cake is much like a typical carrot cake, but mellower. Otherwise, it is just as moist and very flavorful with the crunch of the cashews and slight spiciness of the cardamom. The frosting is scrumptious. I am a fan of cashews and I am very happy with how this recipe came out – creamy, not too sweet, slightly tangy, and very “cashewy”. Together the cake and frosting result in a perfect mid-morning or afternoon treat – satisfying without overwhelming.

Cupcakes
makes 30 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1 pound carrots
2 tablespoons clarified butter or ghee
1/2 cup water
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon cardamom pods
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup cashews, chopped

1. Peel, rinse, and grate the carrots with a fine grater.
2. Sauté the carrots in clarified butter for 3 minutes. Add the water, bring to boil, cover and simmer for 3 minutes.
3. Remove the lid. Stir to cook off any remaining water.
4. Add the milk and cardamom pods. Simmer for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
5. Add 1/2 cup of sugar and stir to dissolve. Simmer for 5 more minutes. You could stop here and have some yummy pudding to eat with vanilla ice cream.
6. Remove of the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. I spread the mixture on a sheet pan so it would cool faster. Remove cardamom pods.
7. In a large bowl, mix together the cooled, cooked carrot mixture, eggs, vanilla, 1-1/2 cups sugar, vegetable oil, and milk.
8. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom.
9. Stir the flour mixture into the carrot mixture. Continue to stir until combined.
10. Add the chopped cashews and stir to combine.
11. Scoop out into cupcake papers about 2/3s full. This will give you a nice dome that won’t overflow, so long as your oven is hot enough.
12. Bake at 350 degree oven for ~25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

cardamom and cashews
cardamom and cashews

Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup cashews
2-3 tablespoons vegetable or nut oil
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, room temperature
8 ounces or 1 package of Philly cream cheese
3-4 cups powdered sugar

1. Grind the cashews for a few pulses in a food processor to break them up.
2. Add two tablespoons of oil and continue to pulse until the nuts start to get creamy. Add more oil, 1 teaspoon or so at a time, until you get to a creamy consistency like chunky peanut butter.
3. Beat the butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Add the cashew butter and beat to combine. Scrape the bowl.
4. Sift 3 cups of the powdered sugar into the bowl. Beat to combine.
4. Add more sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like.

Note: If you add too much sugar and the frosting gets too thick, simply add a tablespoon or so of milk to soften it up.

Assemble
1. Frost the cooled cupcakes.
2. Garnish with a cashew or candied carrot.

ready for transport
ready for transport

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