Sunday, September 26, 2010

Chocolate + Jalapeno + Lime = Yum

Last weekend, I was suppose to make a cupcake with jalapenos in them. However, I got stuck and frustrated making the jalapeno jelly that I was going to use as the filling so I gave up. I did follow through this weekend though!
I took the idea of jalapeno and decided to make a jelly to put inside a cupcake. For the cupcake flavor, I thought about this one time that I had a chili flavored chocolate and it was delicious, so I chose a chocolate cupcake to hold my jalapeno jelly. The frosting was the hard part for me to figure out. I was trying to stick to a theme that would taste good with jalapeno without turning it into a dinner muffin not a dessert cupcake. I went with a Cream Cheese Frosting with a little lime flavor. This sounds like a strange mixture of flavors, but it surprising turned out amazing!
Okay, so let's start with the hard part: the jalapeno jelly! If you have never made jelly before, let me tell you, it is quite the process. But now that I have done it once, I want to make jelly all the time!
I found this recipe via Google, but I couldn't get it right on the first try so I had to "re-jelly" the jelly. I think the problem was that I chose to use powder pectin and not liquid pectin, so use the liquid! It's a little pricier, but well worth it!
Jalapeno Jelly:
(Makes 6 Jelly Jars)
1 cup Red Bell Pepper chopped
1/2 cup Jalapeno chopped
5 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
1 (6 oz) Liquid Pectin
Crushed Red Peppers (optional)

Remove stems, veins and most of the seeds of the bell and jalapeno peppers. Mince peppers in a food processor. 
In a 5-quart pot over high heat, combine bell peppers, jalapenos, sugar and vinegar. Bring to a rolling boil; boil for 3 minutes. (For extra heat add a few dashes of crushed red peppers.)
Stirring constantly, add the pectin and let mixture cool for 2 minutes. Now stir for 1 minute. 
Pour into hot, sterilized jars and top with sterilized lids. Secure lids with bands and allow jars to cool slowly, creating a vacuum seal. (Sterilized jars are fresh and hot from the dishwasher or a hot pot of water.) 

Next, I just used a basic chocolate cupcake recipe.
Chocolate Cupcakes:
(Makes 20 cupcakes)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temp
2 large eggs, room temp
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined. Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder into a small sized bowl and whisk to combine. Measure out the milk and vanilla and stir to combine
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.
Scoop batter into cupcake cups about 2/3’s full. Turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake cupcakes for about 15-18 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

And finally, the yummy Limey Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 stick of butter (room temp)
1 8oz package of cream cheese (room temp)
3-4 cups of confectioner's sugar
1 lime

Put the butter and cream cheese in a bowl and zest some of the lime into the bowl. Cut the lime in half and squeeze the lime juice into the bowl. Whip up the ingredients until mixed well. Then start adding a the confectioner's sugar one cup at a time and continue blending until all has been combined. Then, naturally, taste to make sure you have the flavor of lime and cream cheese. Nom.
Now that you have all the ingredients made, it is time to put together this cupcake. If you have ever watched any of the cupcake shows that are on, you may have caught them with a contraption that helps them fill the cupcakes with a filling. Well, I don't have that so I had to improvise. I just used a funnel to make a hole in the center of the cupcakes and then just kind of used a knife to put the jelly in the cupcakes. It wasn't perfect, but it worked. Then I used a large ziplock bag and filled it with the frosting, cut off the tip, and then frosted the cupcakes.
As strange as this combination sounds, they actually turned out amazing. Now, if only I could figure out a name for them... Haha.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Perfect Breakfast Bites - Mini Cream Cheese Filled Puffins

Okay, so this recipe isn't necessarily a cupcake, but it's too delicious to not share. I had an idea to make Cream Cheese filled Pancake balls, something I have been wanting to do ever since I have seen this contraption from William Sonoma. I do not own said contraption, but I figured there had to be another way to do it... and there was!
I found this tasty recipe for Mini Maple Pancake Muffins and used that as my foundation for the "puffins". Then I used a simple Cream Cheese Frosting recipe for the filling.

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons melted butter
ground cinnamon to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. Sift together with a wire whisk. In another bowl, stir buttermilk, egg, maple syrup and melted butter until just combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir with a spoon until combined. Sprinkle in some cinnamon, as much or little as you like.

Cream Cheese Filling:
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Now comes the fun part! First, make sure that you have your mini cupcake pan greased up. Then I add a little layer of Puffin batter to the bottom of each cup, just to cover the bottom. After that, I put in a scoop of the cream cheese filling. I usually add about 1/2 a tablespoon in each cup. Finally, I cover the filling with the remaining Puffin batter. My cups are normally pretty level and they turn out fine. Now, pop those bad boys into the oven for about 8-10 minutes.
Makes 24 mini puffins.
Once they are done, dish them up and serve them with some syrup like you normally would with pancakes. I even served mine with some sliced strawberries, but any other fruit would be fine too!

French Vanilla & Chocolate Marble Cupcakes

I don't want every cupcake I make to be from a recipe I found via Google because I feel that is the easy way out, but that doesn't mean that most of them won't be. ;)
This cupcake was an experimental, mix a few different recipes together to create the cupcake you want, kind of cupcake. My husband, Brad, wanted a French Vanilla Marble cupcake, which I thought sounded delectable! Naturally, I couldn't find a recipe for such a cupcake, so I had to get creative. I did a Google search for French Vanilla Cupcakes and another search for Marble Cupcakes. I combined the two of them to create my desired flavor. This was the recipe I used:

French Vanilla & Chocolate Marble Cupcakes:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups of sugar or vanilla sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 egg yolks, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup of cream
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 cup boiling water

Preheat your oven to 350. Beat butter on high until soft for 30 seconds. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy. Add eggs and egg yolks one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda, in a bowl. Measure out milk and vanilla extract in another glass. Cut open the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds and add them to the milk. Mix in the flour mixture then the milk mixture, alternating between the two and ending with the flour. Mix thoroughly.
To make chocolate batter, measure out 1 cup batter, and transfer to another bowl. Combine cocoa and the boiling water in a bowl. Stir into reserved 1 cup batter.
Fill prepared cups with alternating spoonfuls of vanilla and chocolate batter, filling each three-quarters full. Run the tip of a paring knife or wooden skewer through batter in a figure-eight motion to make swirls. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until tops are golden and a cake tester (i.e. toothpick) inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

I had to do some searching for the Vanilla Sugar and Vanilla Beans, but I found them at a store called Penzey's, thanks to my friend Alyson who told me to go there. (I, then, fell deeply in love with Penzey's and I could easily spend my entire paycheck buying tons of spices from there. Swoon.)
Now, let me take this time to mention that I do not have a picture of these cupcakes because they did not come out exactly how I wanted. To be honest, I was really disappointed in how they came out. I blame this completely on my lack of actual baking skills and not the recipe itself, because the taste was perfect. The French Vanilla (which I learned isn't even really a flavor per-say, but it is the heavy use of vanilla in a recipe. Hence, the vanilla sugar and vanilla bean.) was very vanilla-y and had the perfect amount of sweetness to it. And the Chocolate was a great compliment to the French Vanilla. The problem was the consistency; the texture was much more like cornbread and not cupcake. So this will be a recipe that I will have to try again to get the consistency right, and I will definitely do an update. If you give this a try, let me know how they come out. :)
As for the frosting, I just used some leftover Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting to top them, since I had so much of it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting (and LOTS of it!)

The first request I had from my husband was a Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting. I dove into this whole cupcake business with no experience at all, so this sounded like a really hard task. Luckily, I had a box of Funfetti cake mix that my Mother-in-Law sent me, so I didn't really have to worry about the cupcake itself.
For the frosting, I had to do a Google search for a recipe. I had NO IDEA where to begin with making a butter cream frosting, so naturally I needed help. I found this recipe and followed it pretty well, except I didn't have any espresso powder and I didn't use the rum. ;) And I didn't realize how much frosting this recipe actually made because I still have leftover frosting in my freezer, haha. But, I would say, for my first attempt at making a butter cream frosting, this turned out amazing. It was light and fluffy and tasted like heaven. What more could you ask for in a frosting, honestly?!
As for my piping skills, yeah... Still working on that! I am saving my pennies for an awesome piping set, but until then I guess I will keep using ziplock bags. :)


In the past few months, I have fell head over heels in love with the new cupcake trend. I really blame TV Shows like "Cupcake Wars" and "DC Cupcakes". You can't HELP but want to whip up a batch of cupcakes after watching those shows. At first, the obsession was just that I wanted to learn how to make a delicious cupcake. But then my husband, Brad, started giving me ingredient challenges, much like they do on "Cupcake Wars".
So starts my addiction. I will be posting the cupcakes that I make here, along with pictures and the recipes. I will also be taking suggestions and challenges. If there is some flavor you would like to see in cupcake form, let me know. I am willing to try anything. And once I figure out how to ship cupcakes to people and have them get to the other end safely, I will be taking orders. :)