Tag Archives: cupcakes

a berry nice girl

It’s been a while since I graced this blog or coworkers’ bellies with yummy treats.  I know I’ve said it before, but baking is so therapeutic.  It’s precise, like culinary chemistry, and the payoff is usually something delectable.

This past week, my team had an intern whose last day was Friday.  I told him he could pick his favorite flavor and I’d come up with a cupcake for him and the team.  Strawberry shortcake he said — so strawberry it was!

Cupcake Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of chopped strawberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, around 3-5 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time until combined.  Then add buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.  Mix until just combined.  Add chopped strawberries, folding to avoid mushing the fruit.
  4. Fill lined cupcake pans 3/4 of the way with batter.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes and let cool completely on a cooling rack.

Frosting Ingredients

  • Frozen strawberries, pureed with sugar (to your taste depending on how sweet the strawberries are)
  • 2 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups of confectioner sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer.  Beat in 1/3 cup of the strawberry puree and vanilla extract.  Add the confectioner sugar one cup at a time beating until well combined.  Frost the cupcakes and garnish with fresh strawberries.

The frosting is nothing short of amazing.  It literally tasted like ice cream… and I would know!  I licked the spoon the night I made it.  Did I feel guilty?  NO I DID NOT.  Make these cupcakes, you will run right down to Boston to give me a big hug and kiss.

Advertisements

Thanksgiving Eats


Turkey Time

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving and adjusted back to life in the grind today. I had all of week plus today off and was pretty happy with the food I consumed over the break. I got home last Monday, and my dad suggested we go to McDonald’s to get some McRibs. Knowing my parents, such a request was pretty shocking. I declined, and he suggested driving up to Edison so I could try some new Chinese restaurants. The first two we tried were closed so we found ourselves in heaven H Mart. Spacious, clean, reasonably priced and delicious food court options. We got a seafood pancake, a bowl of noodle soup, and some Korean fried chicken. Then, we shopped for lobsters and abalone for a late dinner.

On Tuesday my dad got KFC for lunch. My reality is seriously taking a U-turn. Maybe it was a little Thanksgiving warm up? The mashed potatoes and chicken were as I remembered, but the biscuits weren’t as big or fluffy. Recipe change? Sad face.

On Wednesday, the cooking began after some take out Chinese for lunch. I got started on baking treats for in house snacking, friends and neighbors. First up were Chocolate Chunk Cookies based off Tollhouse Cookies without the walnuts and chunks instead of chips. Next were the office favorite, Cookies n Cream Cupcakes, which friends also enjoyed However, they didn’t get them until 2-3 days after so they dried out a bit in the fridge. Finally, Thanksgiving desserts included Pumpkin Cheesecake and Apple Pie.


Chocolate Chunk Cookies


Cookies N Cream Cupcakes


Pumpkin Cheesecake


Apple Pie

The big day included waffles for brunch with a blackberry topping and fresh blackberries and bananas.


Thanksgiving Brunch

For the big meal, we had a 12 lbs. turkey brined and rubbed with sage, kosher salt and a little rosemary along with a half lemon and cinnamon stick in the cavity. Gravy was made using a roux, chicken stock and soy sauce. This was the most successful gravy I’ve made to date in terms of universal appeal, color, texture and taste. I did feel guilty about cutting out the pan drippings, since I had so much to do. Green bean casserole, dressing, sage and rosemary biscuits, sweet potato mash and spaghetti squash with cranberries rounded out the meal. The green bean casserole was the first time I made it completely from scratch, and while it looked sexy, the fried onions still didn’t measure up to French’s. The dressing was still inferior to Stove Top, but I’m still confident that someday I will have a recipe that will be better. The spaghetti squash was a new addition this year and was inspired by a meal at Oceanarie the week before Thanksgiving. The strands from the squash are pretty cool. When my dad asked if I cut the squash into the strands, I was pretty tempted to say yes. Overall, my dad said it was the best Thanksgiving meal to date that I’ve made, so my constant need for approval was satisfied for the time being.


Sage and Rosemary Biscuits


Spaghetti Squash with Cranberries


Green Bean Casserole


The Spread


Coma on a Plate

On Friday night, I met up with a few friends for burgers at 25 Burgers and had a Bull’s Eye Burger with sweet potato fries. The burger itself was pretty messy and greasy, but it’s the best burger within a 15 minute drive from my house. The onion strings and patty were the highlights, while the bun was lacking. The fries were decent, but the portion was rather small. Overall the burger, fries, and drink were a little over $12.


BBQ Burgers Don’t Know How to Disappoint

The next day, I ate at Shanghai Bun and got some sauteed pork and vegetables with Shanghai noodles, and my friend got chicken and mustard green soup. For dinner, I hung out with a few of my sister’s friends and went to the Olive Garden for the first time. The place was pretty empty when we arrived, but was packed by the time we left. I was definitely surprised with the decor and ambiance, since I always though the commercials were so corny. However, the prices were also higher than I imagined. I was thinking most entrees would be $8-15, but the range was more like $12-$20. The seating was interesting, with wheels on all four legs sliding in every direction. The bread sticks were on the salty side, but you can’t go wrong with unlimited warm bread. For my entree, I got braised short ribs. I’m not 100% confident that it didn’t come out of a bag, but the tenderness of the meat was still enjoyable. Overall, the meal was better than I expected, but at $28 with tax and tip, I’d rather spend my dining out money elsewhere.


If Only Plate of Food Grew on Trees


Healthy Can Taste Good


The Most Perfectly Shaped Breadsticks I’ve Ever Seen in my Life


Braised Short Ribs

citrus punch for our 100th post

Happy 100th post!  It’s been a while, but I’m still in the heart of my busy season.  Finding time to cook or even think about cooking has been replaced by excel spreadsheets and memos that are unfortunately not writing themselves.

The fact that Ray and I have been able to carve out pieces of our lives to blog about our shared passion is a success in itself. I’m so happy we’ve made it to 100. Let’s hear it for HUNDREDS more.

What better way to celebrate the big hundo than with my favorite? Citrus and cupcakes! Woot woot.

Key Lime Pie Cupcake Recipe

Makes 24 cupcakes.

1/2 C butter
1 C sugar
3 eggs
1 C milk
1 C flour
9 graham crackers
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp kosher salt
5 egg yolks
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 C key lime juice (I cheated and just used regular limes because I have no patience to juice small limes — it’s like peeling a grape!)

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time.  Mix completely before adding the next egg.

In an open storage bag, crumb your graham crackers with a rolling pin.  If you’re like me and like to release your stress and other other extreme emotion, grab a frying pan and whack the living daylights out of the bag.  Combine with flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the milk and ending with the dry ingredients.   Mix until just combined.

In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, and lime juice. Pour the lime mixture into your batter and stir.  Make sure there is a clear difference between the graham batter and the lime mixture.  If you see graham batter clumps, then you’re good to go.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4s of the way and bake 20 minutes for full sized cupcakes, 10-12 minutes for mini cupcakes.  I did a mix of both because I was getting impatient and wanted to cook off all of my cupcakes in one load.

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 8oz packages of cream cheese (room temperature)
1 1/2 sticks butter (room temperature)
6 C powdered sugar (more or less depending on your sweet tooth level)
1 tsp lime juice

Cream together the cream cheese and butter with a hand mixer or stand mixer.  Add the powdered sugar slowly.  This will ensure a non-chalky frosting.  Add the lime and any food coloring you’d like.  I did one drop of yellow and two drops of green to match the limey color.

Wait for cupcakes to come to room temperature and frost.  Garnish with slices of lime and enjoy.

Thanks again everyone for the wonderful and continued support. Ray, I, and our humble blog truly appreciate it.

cookies ‘n cream cupcakes

Since I changed jobs earlier this year, I’ve been looking for the baked good that would be the new favorite in the office. At my last job it was the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, which I made 10 or so times over the span of 2.5 years. I made those twice so far (once in the form of a muffin), but they haven’t gotten the same rave reviews, so I started hunting for something better. Maybe flashier?

As I was searching through my inventory, I noticed a bunch of unused cupcake liners and realized that I hadn’t made cupcakes since college. Since I was going for wow factor and a crowd pleaser, I thought about an Oreo cupcake and searched cookies and cream cupcakes. It led me to this beauty. The frosting may become the basis of all my cream cheese frosting until the end of time. Let me also tell you that those half Oreos on the bottom blew peoples’ minds. THEIR MINDS. BOOM. INTERGALACTIC SONIC BOOM.

The only adjustments I made were using skim milk I had on hand instead of heavy cream in the frosting and opting to not use crumbs to decorate because I had to assemble these at the a co=worker’s birthday party. The recipe also only gave me 20 cupcakes because I used a couple of Oreos less than what was stated. The batter was looking rather loaded with cookies.



Cupcakes:
20 Oreo Cookie Halves, Twisted with Cream
2 1/4 cups AP Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
8 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
1 2/3 cups Sugar
3 Large Egg Whites, Room Temperature
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 cup Milk
12-15 Oreo Cookies, Coarsely Chopped (Quartered)

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz. Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
1 tbsp. Vanilla Extract
4 cups Confectioners’ Sugar, Sifted
2 tbsp. Milk

Garnish:
20 Oreo Cookie Halves, Cut Down the Middle

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Line regular size cupcake pan with paper liner. Place twisted Oreo half on the bottom of each liner, cream side up. In bowl, combine dry cupcake ingredients and sift/whisk/blend with fork until mixed. In a separate bowl, using a hand or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed. Blend in egg whites one at a time. Pour in vanilla. Turn speed to low and slowly incorporate half the dry cupcake ingredients. Add milk until combined and then add remaining dry ingredients. Remove bowl from stand mixer and fold in chopped Oreos with a spatula.

Divide batter evenly into cupcake liners and bake for 18-20 minutes. Rotate half way for even baking or adjust as needed if your oven has hot spots. Test done-ness with toothpick and let cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to wire rack until cooled completely.

For the frosting, combine cream cheese and butter and mix on medium-high speed until smooth. Add vanilla extract until combined. Slowly add in confectioners’ sugar until incorporated. Add the milk and beat on medium-low speed just until incorporated. Whip on high speed until light and fluffy. Add more confectioner’s sugar, if too wet and milk, if too dry. I placed the frosting in some zip lock bags so that i could easily bring them to the party and pipe onto the cupcakes. Add a half Oreo cookie to garnish.

the pumpkin king

Attention, sane people — it is September 20th and I’ve already whipped out my Halloween sprinkles and harassed friends for canned packed pumpkin (thanks Kate!).  Apparently, canned packed pumpkin is seasonal and now is not the season.  LIES!

Pumpkin Cupcakes With Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe by David Leite

Yields 20 cupcakes

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 extra large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 15 oz can of solid packed pumpkin

Frosting
Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Make the cupcakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with fabulous Halloween cupcake liners.

2. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, add the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl.  You may choose to sift the dry ingredients together, but I typically skip this step because I’ve had no idea where my sifter’s been for the past 7 months.

3. Add the eggs one at a time to the mixer, scraping down the sides after each addition. Alternate adding the flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat in the pumpkin until smooth. Scoop the batter among the cupcake liners — you’re looking to get them 3/4 full. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on racks completely before frosting.

Make the frosting:
In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy. To assemble the cake, frost the top of one cake, place the other cake on top. Frost the cooled cupcakes and decorate with any crazy sprinkles and Halloween candies you have around.

These cupcakes are tremendous.  They are moist, super delicious, and so season appropriate (especially if you’re a crazy early bird like me!).  As you can probably tell, I had a very fun time decorating them. I even bought those damn pumpkin candies that I hate.  Those didn’t make it to the picture because I was having an inner debate whether to add them.  I really don’t like them… candy corn either.  Gross.  I did give in though, because they are just too cute to boot!

If you like pumpkin pie and feel like mixing it up a bit, definitely give these bad boys a try.

As a side note, yesterday was my 25th bday.  WOOOO! I went to Menton, a Barbara Lynch restaurant (of course).  I snapped some pretty snazzy pictures of the tasting menu goodies, so be on the look out for that in an upcoming post.