Monday, February 27, 2012

Coffee, Doughnuts, & Cupcakes - Ahhh...

Seriously, just reading this title makes me smile. There is nothing I like more on a rainy day than curling up on the couch with a strong cup of coffee and a good book. Add to that a delicious doughnut and it's pure bliss. However, as this blog is all about cupcakes, we're gonna go a step further and put it all in an adorable treat that you can't tell your trainer about - Coffee and A Doughnut Cupcakes!

Now, this idea isn't mine. I'm not the first person to try it. In fact, it never ceases to amaze me the crazy ideas people have come up with for cupcakes. I came across a few pictures of this idea and was simply smitten. I have a doughnut glaze recipe that I've used before and, to be honest, have no idea where it originated from. My dilemma in planning this cupcake was which of my many cake recipes should I use? I started thinking it over and realized it was simple, really. One of my all-time favorite doughnuts is an Old Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnut and it just so happens that I have an amazing Sour Cream Pound Cake recipe that is reminiscent of that very treat. I'll be dipping these cupcakes into one of two glazes - chocolate or vanilla, icing them with a Mocha buttercream from Wilton ( happiness ), and then topping them with a delicious doughnut hole from a local doughnut shop where I live. I could've made my own doughnuts from scratch but this is a cupcake blog and why mess with perfection? Seriously, these doughnuts are unbelievable! If you're ever in central Florida, look up Donut King in Minneola and you won't be disappointed!

The results? I'm a fan! It definitely had the flavors of the classic coffee/doughnut combination. I was worried about using a pound cake recipe for cupcakes but it worked fabulously and once again reminded me how much I love this pound cake recipe. So good! A few notes on the icing and glazes. For the buttercream, be sure to use quality coffee that you like to drink. It will make a difference. A coworker of mine said it was delicious and that she wouldn't change a thing about it! When you make the vanilla glaze, add the milk a little at a time. You won't need the full amount but, unfortunately, I can't tell you exactly how much you will need because I did add it all at once and had to add more sugar - not fun! I don't think I need to comment on the doughnuts. You use your favorite for the toppers and there won't be anything to complain about! Do try this cupcake because one, I think you'll be pleased and two, they just look so darn cute!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Cupcake Liners At a Steal!

I'm gonna take a quick break from the sweet side of things and talk about the practical side for a minute - cupcake liners! I'm sure that by now most of you cupcake bakers out there are aware of how ridiculously expensive these little pieces of crinkly paper are. I spend around $3- $3.50 for a package of 50 and let me tell you, for a cupcake blogger and pastry chef, that adds up quick! The couponer in me just couldn't accept that. Enter google. That's right. My trusty search engine of choice. Let me tell you, the 30 seconds it took me to google "cupcake liners" paid off! I found a site that sells all kinds of equipment for people like me and, if they had a storefront, I would be there for days! The site is and they are my new BFF. I ordered 900 cupcake liners for for a third of what they would've cost me at the grocery store or specialty craft store!! Woohoo for saving money! Now if I could just find a way to make these tasty little treats as good for my hips as they are on my lips! :) Stay tuned for this weekend's post. The cupcake of choice? Coffee and A Doughnut Cupcakes!!

*The opinions in this post are 100% mine and no merchandise or services were rendered in exchange for this post.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Triple Chocolate and German Chocolate Cupcakes

Ok, first a few personal things. A lot of you know this but for those that don't I want to let you know that my sweet dog, Buddy (see pic with the last post), lost his fight with an autoimmune disorder last Saturday. It has been a very rough few weeks at our house and we miss him so very much! You don't really understand the impression they make on your hearts and in your lives until they're gone and, boy, is this hard! He was an 8 yr old miniature Dachshund, with a personality bigger than life and we loved him more than words can say. All the prayers and outpouring of love is appreciated more than you could ever know! I'm still grieving and crying at random moments when something catches me off guard or a thought/memory runs through my mind, but I'm ready to get my mind on some baking and hoping that cupcakes will help the healing process. Second, my dad's birthday is this weekend so, while I promised raspberries and lemon, we're first going to take a detour down chocolate lane for him!
Dad's favorite cake is German Chocolate. Over the years I have scoured the cookbooks, searched online, and asked friends for their recipes. Well, I'm happy to say that last year I found it! My German Chocolate cake go-to recipe. This one is definitely not mine but I'm so pleased with it that I don't feel the need to tweak it. The cake is light and moist and the icing - delish! Now, in my picky family, my dad, brother-in-law, and I are the only ones who really like the traditional coconut pecan icing so for everyone else, I made a Triple Chocolate Cupcake - German chocolate cake, milk chocolate ganache, and white chocolate buttercream. Sounds good, right? I know...chocolate overload. But, for chocoholics like us, heaven!
I love the word ganache. People hear it and automatically think gourmet, fru-fru, upscale, hoity-toity... Little do they know, ganache simply means I melted chocolate with some warm cream and, voila! It's ok though. If someone wants to think I spent hours because of a fancy word, I'll let them! The white chocolate buttercream icing I use is a Wilton recipe and, let me tell you, it's probably the best thing I've EVER put in my mouth. Seriously. My mom, the world's pickiest eater, who prefers boxed cake mixes and icing from a can, can't stop eating it by the spoonful. If you haven't made this icing yet, you MUST. I mean it. Right now. Stop what you're doing and go! It's that good.
The review -- I'm not gonna lie; these cupcakes are divine! Chocoholics beware: you will be addicted. The sounds coming from my family while eating these tell me that I have another success on my hands. The birthday boy was oh so excited to see the coconut pecan icing on the stove today and when he tasted it, he said the only thing missing was a cup of coffee. Yum-my! Now, the links to these recipes are included so you be the judge. Once again, happy reading and, most importantly, happy cupcake-ing!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Doggy love and cupcakes

Hey friends! A new cupcake is coming soon! For those of you who know me personally, you know the struggles we've had the last week with coming close to losing our beloved dog and the fight we're currently having nursing him back to health and getting him past a critical stage. First of all, thank you for the prayers! Second, depending on how he's doing over the weekend, I should be able to work on a new treat and post a blog. Here's a hint - raspberries and lemon! Be watching for it in the near future and also, prayerfully, we'll have a good report on Buddy! Happy reading and, more importantly, happy cupcake-ing! :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sweet + Sour + Strawberries = Success!

Don't let the word "sour" scare you! These cupcakes are fabulous, in my humble opinion. Maybe a better description would be tart or tangy but then, there goes the alliteration and, Baptist preacher's daughter/grammar-lover that I am, I just can't accept that! (Anyone who grew up in/goes to a Baptist church knows that every good message has an outline with points all beginning with the same letter...I think the grammar thing is self-explanatory). While thinking about cupcakes and researching different recipes for this post, I came across and thought of several ideas, finally deciding on strawberries. The first reason was a pretty simple one - BOGO (buy one get one)! Anyone who knows me knows that I have become a couponer extraordinaire in the last year and a half (for couponing how-to's see the button to the right for and in my world, BOGO = LOVE! So, I stocked up, washed, chopped and froze what I didn't need for these cupcakes and the baking began.

The second reason for this cupcake is my dear friend, Abi. Abi's favorite cake flavor is strawberry and I've always gone to a box mix for this. Now, don't get me wrong, boxed mixes have their time and place - I have a stock of them in my cabinet for things like cake emergencies, last minute parties, and church pot-lucks - but, hello, I spent a lot of time and money studying to become a pastry chef and I prefer to do things from scratch as much as possible. There's just something about the process of taking a plethora (love that word) of ingredients on the counter, combining them in a bowl, and having a beautiful, delicious creation come out of the oven. Anyway, back to Abi. Abi and her husband, Chase just had their first baby - Thunder Remington - and let me tell you, HE IS PRECIOUS! I can't wait to hear him call me Miss Cupcake (my buddy, Chandler from my first post, is his cousin). Our church threw Abi a shower, for which I made the cupcakes, and I vowed then and there that I would find/create a from scratch recipe before I made her cupcakes again. How ridiculous that I had never tried before. Well, now I have and am so pleased with the results!

To make these delicious, pretty-in-pink cupcakes I took my basic white chiffon cake and changed some things here and there, drawing from ideas I found online. I added pureed strawberries, substituted vanilla extract with raspberry, added a little red food coloring, and used a mixture of sour cream and milk for the liquids. The result is a moist, light, pink cupcake that is divine. The one thing I would change next time is using strawberry extract instead of the raspberry I had on hand for a slightly stronger strawberry flavor. As for the icing, I used my basic cream cheese icing and added sour cream to it. I got the idea from a recipe I saw online that added cream to the icing. This intrigued me. However, as I prefer a slightly tangy, less sweet cream cheese icing, I used sour cream. Again, next time I may add strawberry extract to the icing...maybe not. And, of course, the crowning glory of each cupcake is half a strawberry. One of the many things I remember from culinary school is my Plated Desserts instructor drilling into us that you never serve strawberries on a dessert with the green leaves and time I think I will though. I just love the look of a little strawberry, completely intact, on cute! Shhh...don't tell my instructor.

So, there you have it. My first custom cupcake creation. Don't worry...tabs are coming soon where I will post pictures and list all of my recipes so you can try them and let me know what YOU think. Not all of the cupcakes I bake and write about here will be mine. After all, I have some fabulous tried and true recipes that I got from many different sources that I wouldn't change a thing about. I really wanted something of my own for this first one, though, and I must say that I feel a certain level of accomplishment. Thank you to all of you who have encouraged me thus far! I hope that you like what you see. Speaking of which, before I go, let me ask. What do you think of my new look? Now, this I cannot take credit for. My beautiful, talented friend, Sarah Yoder, is the creator and artist behind the look. I'm truly blessed to have such a talented friend in my life and am so very thankful for the awesome work she's done. Check out her blog at and let her know what you think of her work. Thanks for stopping by and again, happy reading and most importantly, happy cupcake-ing!

Sweet & Sour Strawberry Cupcakes:

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/2 c granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
5 egg whites
1 t raspberry extract
1 t red food coloring
1 1/4 c pureed strawberries
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 t each baking soda and baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c milk

Cream Cheese Icing:

2 8oz pckgs cream cheese
2 sticks unsalted butter
3 1/2 c confectioner's sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1/3 c sour cream
1/2 t red food coloring (or enough to reach desired color)

For the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar until combined
2. Add egg yolks one at a time, then raspberry extract, food coloring and strawberries; beat until combined
3. Sift dry ingredients and add to strawberry mixture alternately with milk and sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients
4. Mix just until combined
5. In another bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff and add to batter in small amounts, folding gently, until just combined
6. Bake until top springs back when touched.

Yield: 36 cupcakes

For the icing:

1. Combine cream cheese and butter.
2. Add vanilla, food coloring, and sour cream and mix until smooth.
3. Whisk in sugar, a little at a time, then beat until happy with consistency. 

Icing will appear slightly runny. Firm up in refrigerator before piping onto cupcakes. You may top with fresh strawberries if desired.
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