Friday, October 23, 2009

Martha Cupcake Challenge #18- Pumpkin-Brown butter cupcakes

Spooky!!! These are pumpkin-brown butter cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Since it's so close to Halloween, I wanted to start making festive cupcakes with my holiday liners and sprinkles. These make my place smell amazing!
The batter starts with browned butter, which is just melted on the stove until golden and delicious. It has a nutty smell, very warm and fall-like. No mixer required either! The ingredients come together easily, since the butter is melted.

Here they are right out of the oven. The tops seemed a bit spongy still, but I knew after cooling for a few minutes they'd firm up, and they did. One thing I found odd, this recipe did not call for vanilla, which I love, so I added it. I think it gives a great flavor to any recipe, and always add a little bit no matter what.
I frosted these with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting, even though the recipe book calls for a brown butter glaze. I tried to use stencils to make designs with the sugar, but I think the frosting is too sticky, because they didn't really come out well. The stencils will work better on an unfrosted cupcake with powdered sugar, or on a harder frosting, like a ganache.
So I just ended up using pretty colored sugars all over.
This recipe made exactly 15, as it said it would. just enough to share with a few friends :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Martha Cupcake Challenge #17- Applesauce spice cupcakes

So, I only have photos of this one unfrosted, they got eaten up too quickly! These are applesauce spice cupcakes, with pecans inside.
They were eventually topped with cream cheese frosting. These are made with unsweetened applesauce, and lots of fun spices, like cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg (which I omitted since I hate nutmeg). They made the whole apartment smell so good! I have used applesauce in recipes before, when trying out some vegan alternatives to eggs. It certainly makes any baked good super moist and delicious! A great recipe all around.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Martha Cupcake Challenge #16- Mocha cupcakes

In honor of National Chocolate Cupcake Day, I endeavored to make Martha's mocha cupcakes, since mocha = chocolate + coffee. I upped the amount of coffee in the cupcakes, using not only 3/4 cup of brewed espresso, but also a packet of Starbucks VIA Columbia roast instant coffee, and also A tablespoon of instant espresso powder. These don't have that much chocolate in them, only 2 tbsp, but it's enough to get that great mocha flavor.

Here they are fresh out of the oven, smelling soooo delicious! The recipe says it makes 24, but I only got 20. The batter was quite liquidy, and these cupcakes are moist and delicate. Chocolate has a tendency to be dryer than others, but these will not have that problem.

Now, on to the frosting. It's a 7 minute frosting, flavored with coffee. It calls for coffee extract, but I couldn't find that, so I just used the instant espresso powder to make a very strong 1/4 cup of coffee. I have made this frosting once before, for the coconut cupcakes (Cupcake Challenge #4). I ran into the same problems as last time. Although I did have a working candy thermometer, it seemed like the sugar mixture took a very long time to come up to temp. Also, I had to beat the frosting on high for 25-30 minutes, not on medium for 7 minutes, to get the glossy peaks I needed. I did some searching on the internet and found lots of other recipes that use a double boiler. I may try that next time, this is too time consuming.

This is how much frosting I had left over. Could have used another dozen cupcakes! And unfortunately, you can't save this for later, it must be used immediately, so it was either eat all that frosting myself or throw it out. (I threw it out)
So, cupcakes A+, frosting C. I am also going to submit this recipe on, since they are having a contest to use the new VIA coffee. Since I don't drink coffee, this is how I use it.