Category Archives: cupcakes

Gluten-free Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Does anyone else feel like there is something altogether wonderful & magical about snow falling in the middle of the night, creating a quiet peace that is incomparable to any other? I wasn’t acquainted with this mystery in the deserts of Arizona. It wasn’t until I visited a high school friend during my freshman year Spring break in Providence, RI. It was a Friday, and all the students on the campus had left for their Spring break. Not only
was the campus and surrounding area quiet, but we soon found ourselves inside looking out to what would seem a snow globe world. Picturesque.

It reminds me of Arizona’s desert night sky. When you look up at the open clear sky, all you see is the infinite expanse of stars. Or what I refer to as “the stars beyond the stars.” Snow falling and covering the world at night creates the silence of peace beyond the silence. It reminds me of how finite I am amidst the vast accompaniment of sound. That’s a bit how I feel with every birthday celebrated, especially my kids’ birthday. This finite person, gets to relish in these moments of seeing the stars beyond the stars. Yet I get distracted or overwhelmed by the greatness of it all…the mystery. I would rather spend my time marveling and rejoicing over the unknown, the stillness of the fallen snow, or simply being given the pleasure to be still with the moment.

These moments, these treasures that I wish I could put in a locket and wear around my neck to serve as a reminder that life is worth living to its fullest.  When I see my daughters laugh and hug one another, when I see the white flag of humility waving, or when I see Veronica’s progress developmentally and she isn’t even aware she has a delay (because she sees the stars beyond the stars).  Oh how wonderful it is to look at the world like that.  I think having Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes also makes it easier for a four years old (or 30, 40, 50 yrs).

A Year Ago: Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes, Split Pea Soup, & Mustard Roasted Cauliflower

Gluten-free Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes (printable recipe)

This recipe has been adapted from my non-GF recipe.  Both are wonderful and they are a sure hit at kid’s parties and the adults like to eat them too.  A note about measuring almond flour.  I use a blanched almond flour and I scoop it out with a spoon and put it in my measuring cup.  I encourage you to use a scale, which will get the most accurate results; however, I know that is not always an option.  Do NOT scoop out with your measuring cup, because it will yield a higher weight than what my recipe requires.

Cupcakes Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups (180 g) almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (65 g) light agave nectar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (170 g) whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) multi-colored confetti sprinkles
  • 12 cupcake GF sugar wafer cones

Whipped Cream Frosting

  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • 1-2 Tb light agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350.  Place the wafer cones in the muffin pan.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter & sugar until well blended.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until light.  With the mixer on low speed, gradually add half of the almond flour mixture, then the milk and then the rest of the flour mixture until well blended.  Fold in the confetti sprinkles into the batter.  Using a small ice cream scooper/cookie dough scooper, divide the batter evenly among the 12 cupcake cones.
  • Bake the cupcake cones for 20-25 minutes.  When you press lightly in the middle of the cone, they should spring back.  Let them cool on a cooling rack until they’re completely cooled.
  • While the cupcakes are in the oven.  Put your metal mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer.  Allow them to get cold (about 15 minutes).  Remove the bowl & whisk attachment.  Add cold heavy whipping cream to the bowl.  Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Add the agave nectar & vanilla and beat on low speed a bit more, just until they are mixed throughout the whipped cream.  If you want to add a color to it, do so now and fold it in with a rubber spatula.
  • Prepare a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.  Twist the bag right above the tip and push it gently inside the tip, in order to avoid the frosting from coming out.  Turn down the opened end of the bag one inch down.  Place the pastry bag, tip side down, into a glass.  Using a rubber spatula, fill the bag with the whipped cream frosting.  Twist the bag, in order to keep the frosting from squeezing out.  Pipe the whipped cream frosting onto the cupcakes and sprinkle with additional confetti sprinkles.
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Rhubarb-Strawberry filled Lime Cupcakes

Have you noticed how many cupcake shops have popped up in the past five years?  I have loved baking ever since I was little.  My true love for the art came in my first Home Economic class in sixth grade.  True to any first year Home Ec. class, you learn a plethora of introductory level crafts.  I still remember learning plastic canvas, where I made a tissue box cover of penguins designed for my mom, due to her love of the cute little creatures.  But seriously, although my mom heaped words of praise upon my creation–do we really need tissue box covers lining the aisles of Goodwill (a lost craft that should remain lost)?

I made a pillow cover, did at home projects of our choice, created various items in the kitchen & decided that I would undertake the largest size duffle bag (think body bag) while all my peers were a bit more sensible & chose the smallest one.  Little did I know that the duffle bag scenario would be a metaphor for my life.

Biting off more than I can chew.  My vision of what I can accomplish and what I will actually tackle are two different notions.  But in some ways, I like how this transfers to my baking.  I’m all for simple desserts & baked goods; however, I plain ole’ love creating something a bit more time consuming to have a wonderful end product.  Sometimes this is hard with some of my perfectionist sensitivities, because I would rather not attempt something & fail than attempt it at all.

It reminds me of the pie crust portion of Home Econonics.  Mrs. Haile, my teacher, showed us how to cut the butter into the flour, add just a little ice cold water, lightly combine it, chill, roll & transfer to the pie plate.  This terrified me.  The idea of transferring to have it split, crack, tear or crumble did not look appealing in the slightest.  And although I had Kitchenaid mixer on my wish list since 11 years old, it wasn’t until I was 20 years old that I began to overcome my fear of the pie crust and make pie after pie.

I’ve realized that baking is like that (as well as cooking).  We all have flops.  In fact, as I was making this recipe, I was trying to make Neoclassic Buttercream (cook the sugar, add said sugar mixture to egg yolks, mix & mix, cool, add butter).  What was the end result–pieces of chewy sugar/caramel dispersed throughout a 1/2 pound of butter.  Sad yes–defeated no.  I will go back and tackle it again, same as the pie crust.  Do I make a perfect pie crust with no flaws?  No.   Julia Child approached the culinary arts with embracing the flaws & going with it.  That’s how I began to see the pie crust and so many other baking adventures.

But, when we do have monumental food successes–they make up for the 1/2 pound of butter that got ruined (actually–I’m going to use it for some frosting still), flavorless muffins, or burnt dinner.  So, as with the advent of the cupcake shops, culinary triumphs & 2+hours of baking with a 5 second eating party–meet the cupcake who will convert even the die hard chocolate lover.

I am utterly, head over heals, infatuated-crazy about these cupcakes.  The melding of the lime cupcake with the tang of the rhubarb sauce, sweetness of the strawberry puree and creamy, richness of the cream cheese frosting (laced with strawberry puree) makes for a complete flavor profile in a dessert. I’m not fond of using the word “best” when talking about food on a blog.  However, I’m about to break that vow right now as these cupcakes are absolutely superb.  Dare I say it, “the best.”  They’re knock your socks off good.  If you have time to spare–you need to make these.  But, I’m warning you if you do, you might not ever be able to eat a “so-so” cupcake again.  Just saying:)

Rhubarb-Strawberry Filled Lime Cupcake & Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting (printable recipe)

The cupcake has been changed from a cupcake base found in Rose’s Heavenly Cakes Cookbook, which is a white cupcake & I have changed it to a lime cupcake.  If you don’t have a scale, then I would highly recommend investing in one; as it will make your baked items a step up.  I used cake flour, as it has a lower protein content versus all-purpose.  This being said, you can use all-purpose with the amount in parenthesis below.  You can make the cupcake the day before and assemble them the next day.  More information on rhubarb is found here.

Lime Cupcakes

The total capacity of the liquid should measure 2/3 cup.  Measure the milk to 1/2 cup and the rest should be lime juice.
  • 3 large egg whites (90 grams), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) whole milk
  • a little less than 1/4 cup (40 grams) lime juice, 2 limes
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (1 3/4 cup if using unbleached all-purpose flour) sifted into the cup & leveled off (200 grams) cake flour
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 to 1 1/2 Tb lime zest, zest of 2 limes
  • 2 1/4 plus 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter (65 to 75 degrees)

Preheat the oven: Line 14 to 16 cupcake liners in a muffin tin and set aside.  Preheat oven to 350.

Mix the liquids: In a small bowl, whisk the egg whites, 3 tablespoons of the milk and vanilla until lightly combined.

Make the batter: In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, lime zest, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds.  Add the butter and the remaining milk & lime juice on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Starting on medium-low speed, gradually add the egg mixture in two parts, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients & strengthen the structure.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Scoop batter into the lined muffin tin (it should weigh about 1.7 ounces/50 grams) filling about 3/4 full. Smooth the surface evenly with a small metal spatula.

Bake the cupcakes: Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the cupcakes spring back when pressed lightly in the centers.

Cool the cupcakes: Let the cupcakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove them from the pans and set them on a wire rack.  Cool completely.

Rhubarb Sauce

  • 2 cups rhubarb, 1/4 inch slices
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar

Directions: Throw the chopped rhubarb, water & sugar in a small pot over medium heat.  Stir every now & again.  Allow it to cook down until it resembles chunky applesauce (except rhubarb).  Pour into a bowl and set aside.

Strawberry Puree

  • 2/3 cup hulled strawberries, cleaned

Put the hulled strawberries into a food processor and puree until no more chunks appear.  Pour into a bowl and set aside.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 Tb unsalted butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tb strawberry puree
Side note: I process the butter & cream cheese in a food processor, until thoroughly combined.  Then, I added 1 cup of powdered sugar along with the strawberry puree and processed again (10 seconds).  I ended up putting it all in the stand mixer, added one more cup of powdered sugar & mixed on medium speed, until it was all combined.

Put the butter & cream cheese in an electric mixer medium speed for 1 minute.  Add strawberry puree and mix on medium until blended.  Add one cup powdered sugar & mix for 30 seconds.  Add an additional 3/4 cup to 1 cup of powdered sugar.  The frosting shouldn’t be too thick, but not ultra runny.

Assemble the Cupcakes:

  1. Take the cupcake and cut out a cone from the center of each.  Go here for instructions on this method.
  2. Remove the cone & cut off the bottom half (the pointed end) and save the top half (eat the bottom half).
  3. Put 1 teaspoon of rhubarb sauce in the cut out portion of the cupcake.  Put 1/8-1/4 tsp of strawberry puree on top of rhubarb sauce.
  4. Place the top part of the cone back on top of the sauce & puree.  Press down gently, just enough to avoid the filling coming out.
  5. Either pipe the frosting on top to cover the cut out area or spoon it on top.
  6. Eat!!!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

When I was in junior high, our church youth group would have overnighters occasionally on the Sunday nights when we didn’t have school on Monday.  There were those kids who would never come to the overnighter, because they are the ones who “couldn’t cut it (Ben would have been one of those).”  In retrospect, they were the smart ones who knew at a young age what their body could and couldn’t take.  However, in our juvenile setback, we saw it not only as our duty, but our obligation to stick it to the man by experiencing the world from dusk to dawn.

Our ammunition was nothing less than your basic food groups–High Fructose Corn Syrup disguised as Dr. Pepper, Monosodium Glutamate disguised as Nacho Cheese Doritos, transfats disguised as Grease cloying Pizza & Unrefined sugar disguised as any & all candy.  And what happens when you eat those basic food groups over the course of 10 hours?  You crash and burn my friend, crash and burn.  It wasn’t until we were driving home at 6:00 am with the Arizona sun burning a hole in my retinas, that I began to wonder if a night-time of no sleep, crap food, and a bit more crap food was worth it?  My stomach was hungry for real food, but my body was beyond tired.  I felt like a two-year old at the one o’clock hour being pushed around the mall with my mom saying, “one more store honey.”  That morning my body trumped my stomach and slowly walked down the hall, with random clothes & stuff dropping the floor like Hansel & Gretel walking toward their candy house ecstasy.

It wasn’t until around 12:30 when I arose from my zombie induced coma to meander towards the wafting smell of the kitchen.  My mom was making some food for the potluck that evening and all I can say is that I’ve never tasted anything as good as chili mac at a moment like that, nor the chocolate cookie with peanut butter chips.  I ate a bit to rid my stomach from eating itself and went back to bed.  When I finally woke up for the day, I came back to the kitchen to find that the cookies weren’t just an illusion, but were actually really good cookies that I later ate a couple more.  And as I tasted these chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting, I can’t help but think of those cookies on the Memorial day back in the 90s.  I remember grabbing a glass of cold milk to compliment the obvious marriage of chocolate & peanut butter.  And for these cupcakes, I recommend the same.  Just leave the overnighters to those crazy middle & high schoolers.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting (printable recipe)

This recipe is adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home.  One thing about Ina Garten’s recipes is she always uses extra-large eggs, which no one ever has in their home.  So I always use large.  I used two large as an equal exchange in this recipe.  However, if there were three or more extra-large, then I would increase the large eggs to equal it out.  And you should definitely have a glass of milk when eating these cupcakes.

Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso (follow directions) or brewed coffee
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup good cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Kathleen’s Peanut Butter Icing, recipe follows

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and instant espresso. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low-speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it’s completely blended.

Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frost each cupcake with Peanut Butter Icing.  Sprinkle with some sea salt.

Kathleen’s Peanut Butter Icing:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.


Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Today is my little big girl’s third birthday.  She came into our room at 6:00 to greet us with her sweet, “Good Mornin’!”  Unfortunately, daddy informed her that it wasn’t waking up time and needed to go back to bed for a little bit longer.  After about 45 minutes she came back in where we welcomed our birthday girl.  I pulled her up into bed with me and retold her birth story as she stared off into space (which means she’s listening–just trying to picture it).  We also cuddled while looking through photos and I couldn’t help but think, “three years ago at this very moment I was in transition getting ready to push my firstborn out to meet him or her.”

And I would definitely say she’s one of my greatest accomplishments.  She brings excitement, new perspective, wild imagination, enormous honesty and a heck of a lot of fun.  So when you’re almost three year old has been planning on having Rainbow Sprinkle Cupcakes for her birthday for almost three months now…what does a mama do?  Go and buy the confetti cake mix from the store?  NEVER!  There are certain compromise-‘ables’ in the kitchen…ice cream, box brownies, take & bake pizza and more.  However, when it comes to most baked items (aside from the brownies), I feel like buying something from the grocery bakery or especially from the box would be wrong for myself.

I only apply this to me and not anyone else, because it’s more of a standard I’ve somehow put upon myself.  But probably the bigger reason is wanting to give a ‘from scratch’ gift to the people I love.  It’s my way of letting them know I’ve taken my time to cook or create something unique & special (and yummy, because isn’t that one of the biggest reasons) for them.

Well, there was a picture in a cupcake book of a Rainbow Sprinkle Cupcake, which my oldest salivated over.  And since I know she was thrilled when she got an ice cream cone at her grandparents house, I suggested a Rainbow Sprinkle Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes for her birthday.  Her eyes lit up even more and today it was everything she (and I) dreamed of.  These were actually quite delicious cupcakes.  So just because you’re over the age of 24, don’t overlook the taste, the airiness and the delicate appeal of Ice Cream Cupcake Cones.

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes (printable recipe)

This recipe is adapted from Perfect CupcakesI was originally going to make only six of these for the kids, while making a more “adult” dessert using the Meyer Lemons I have in the fridge.  And you know, I’m glad I didn’t, because these are some pretty good cupcakes.  I know the cake flour is essential to this, because it has the lowest gluten content among flours.  But the texture combination of the airy cupcake, creamy buttercream and crunchy & chewiness of the cone is really well-rounded.  Like I said, they’re not just for kids. **Disclaimer: 9/20/10 These cupcakes should be made the day of or else you will end up with quite soggy cones.  As for filling the cones, be sure you don’t overfill them, because they will erupt everywhere.  I fill my 2/3 full; however, I have a reader who recommends 1/2 full.

Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups (180 g) cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup (170 g) whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) multi-colored confetti sprinkles
  • 12 cupcake sugar wafer cones

Vanilla Buttercream

  • 3 cups (490 g) powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (250 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350.  Place the wafer cones in the muffin pan.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter & sugar until well blended.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until light.  With the mixer on low speed, gradually add half of the flour mixture, then the milk and then the rest of the flour mixture until well blended.  Fold in the confetti sprinkles into the batter.  Using a small ice cream scooper/cookie dough scooper, divide the batter evenly among the 12 cupcake cones.
  • Bake the cupcake cones for 20-25 minutes.  When you press lightly in the middle of the cone, they should spring back.  Let them cool on a cooling rack until they’re completely cooled.
  • Meanwhile, start the buttercream while the cupcakes are cooling.  Combine butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Mix on low speed at first to avoid powdered sugar from flying everywhere, then turn to medium.  Beat for about 2-3 minutes.  Add the vanilla and mix until combined.  Then, add the heavy whipping cream and beat for an additional 2 minutes.  If you want to add food coloring, do so now.
  • Prepare a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.  Turn down the opened end of the bag one inch down.  Using a rubber spatula, fill the bag with the buttercream.  Twist the bag, in order to keep the frosting from squeezing out.  Pipe the Vanilla Buttercream onto the cupcakes and sprinkle with additional confetti sprinkles.