Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Martha Cupcake Challenge #26- Snickerdoodle cupcakes!

This is actually a continuation of the Mardi Gras cupcakes. I had made the base for these, the cinnamon sugar cupcakes, so I decided to finish them off. The cake recipe I made exactly, and these came out big and domed, just how I like them! They smelled so good while baking.

I used a different frosting than Martha recommended. She uses a 7-minute frosting, but it takes me more like 20 minutes to make, and I didn't have the time. So instead I used another frosting in her book, Honey-cinnamon frosting. This is a traditional buttercream, but with honey and cinnamon. It was super tasty.

I piped the frosting on, sprinkled it with cinnamon-sugar mix, then added another dollop on top. At first it didn't look like I'd have enough, but I had enough for at least one more cupcake.

ps- Snickerdoodle comes from a mispronunciation of the German word schneckennudeln, which means crinkly noodles. Weird!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mardi Gras cupcakes

So, in a bit of a variation on the Martha challenge, I made cupcakes for my friend's Mardi Gras party. These were meant to resemble King Cake, the traditional cake of Mardi Gras. Even tho it's not really a cake, it's more like cinnamon roll dough.
The cupcakes were adapted from Martha's Snickerdoodle recipe. I made the cupcakes per her recipe, but switched up the frosting. King Cakes have a glaze on them, so I made a lemon glaze, and topped it with yellow, green and purple sprinkles, the official colors of Mardi Gras.

They turned out great, I even put a plastic baby into one! The tradition is, if you find the baby, you have to bring the cake next year. Not sure why it's a baby, but it's cute :) I just love any occasion to try something new.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Martha Challenge #25- Marble Cupcakes

In an effort to use up leftover dark chocolate frosting, I wanted to make something that would go well together, so marble cupcakes were the winner! These were fairly straightforward, first you mix the vanilla batter, then make some of it chocolate.

The swirling part was fun, messing up the cupcakes randomly to get a marbleized pattern. As Martha says, it doesn't have to be perfect. Really, Martha? I find it hard to believe that anything she does isn't perfect :)
The cupcakes baked up nice and tall, with big domed tops. After cooling for a while, I topped them with a thin layer of dark chocolate frosting, left over from last week's chocolate salted caramel cupcakes. Since it didn't hold its shape too well when piped, I just used a spatula to spread some on.
This was a good recipe, not complicated, and they smelled so good I almost ate one, and I never eat my own cupcakes! But I have been assured they are "nom nom nom".

Friday, February 12, 2010

Martha Challenge #24- Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Ok, next challenge, and I do mean challenge. Chocolate salted caramel cupcakes. Martha made these in mini, but I made regular sized. 50 minis apparently equals 24 regulars.
This was one of the hardest recipes yet. Three steps, and each step was difficult. The cupcakes were very spongy, and the batter was liquidy. They baked for 17 minutes. It almost seemed like they weren't done, because they were so delicate and wobbly, but they were. I let them rest overnight.
The next day, I made the frosting. I've made this frosting before, it's basically tons of butter and chocolate, with a tiny bit of sugar. It's super rich and shiny, not too sweet. But it's quite loose, not stiff at all. And, the recipe makes a ton! I had at least 2 cups left over.

Then I made the salted caramel to go inside. I've made caramel a few times before. Again, I slightly overcooked the sugar mixture, so it was a very dark caramel. At the end you stir in fleur de sel, which is a fancy french sea salt.
Finally, assembly. I cut holes in each cupcake, filled with warm salted caramel, and sprinkled more fleur de sel on top. Then I piped the chocolate frosting on top. It's really too loose of a frosting to pipe, it was running all over the place. But I was rather surprised that once piped, it held its shape on the cupcakes. Then I sprinkled more fleur de sel on top.

These were super hard to make, doubt I'll make these again. Although salty and sweet is a popular combo, I'll try to achieve it other ways.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Variation on Martha's cupcakes: Red Hot Velvet!

So, since Valentine's Day is this weekend, I decided to spice up Martha's red velvet cupcakes. I have made these before, in the Martha Challenge #5. I changed up the recipe a bit, added my own twist! I used more cocoa powder, because I like a tastier cupcake. In fact, I used cocoa rouge, a reddish natural cocoa, to enhance the red color of the cupcakes. I also added cinnamon to the batter, to spice them up a bit.

These cupcakes turned out a lot darker than before, due to the increase in cocoa. I personally don't like when red velvet is like atomic red, I prefer a more natural red look. Still these probably weren't red enough. They smelled amazing!
I then topped them with traditional cream cheese frosting. I also added cinnamon to the frosting, to bring out the cinnamon flavor in the cakes. I need to adjust this recipe too, it's way too sticky and tart for my liking.

Then it was time to bust out the sprinkles! I topped some with light and dark pink sanding sugar, and the rest with hearts and kisses sprinkles. I added a good dose of red edible glitter to finish them off.
My husband had one, and he said he couldn't tell there was cinnamon in them, but I definitely could. Perhaps a little more tweaking is required before this one goes into the recipe book.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Martha Cupcake Challenge #23- Chocolate Spice Cupcakes

Feeling a bit bored this afternoon, so I decided to make whatever I had all the ingredients for. Chocolate-Spice cupcakes win! These are yummy dark chocolate cupcakes with cinnamon and ginger. The recipe calls for nutmeg, but I hate that spice, so I didn't put it in. I meant to add instant espresso powder, but forgot. Next time! They also have molasses, which I had a bit leftover. I added a splash of vanilla too, because I think every cupcake tastes better with vanilla.
This was a very runny batter, made 12 exactly. Altho the recipe says to fill halfway, I filled them 3/4, and they came out perfectly domed.

The recipe calls for these to be inverted, then topped with a chocolate ganache glaze, but I used liners and kept them upright. I dipped each top in ganache, and had a ton left over. I guess I'll be making something else later in the week. The tops are nice and shiny. I put them in the fridge to let the ganache set up. They smell great, chocolatey and spicy. These would probably taste good with some hot spice, like cayenne added. All in all, a great recipe (with a few adjustments).