Tag 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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Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes

If you’re a chocolate lover then proceed.  If you’re not, well I’m sorry, but maybe you will be a chocolate liker after trying these.  I made well over 200 of these Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes for my friend’s wedding (Jason & Tina) while I was 7 months pregnant.  I realized two things after that baking extravaganza of ’08.  One is no matter how much I love someone, never again will I say yes to baking all the desserts for a large party while that pregnant and carrying for a 20 month old.  Two, is how easy these are to make–no one will know otherwise.

I think I can get these out in 40 minutes, which is pretty excellent for a sophisticated dessert.  They are also very adaptable with your chocolate liking.  You could use all bittersweet (typically 60%), semisweet, or milk chocolate.  You can mix different varieties as well.  You can make them gluten-free.  You can make them in big muffin tins or miniature ones.  If you want to add a bit of espresso to bring out the chocolate flavor even more–then do it.  I love these for all those reasons.  And I can’t understand why I haven’t shared them until now.

Before we go onto the recipe, I should share a bit about my gluten-intolerant friend Tina who these were intended for and I’ve written about before.  We met through one of her ex-boyfriends and I knew we were kindred spirits.  She has a quiet reserve about her (at least when compared to her husband), but she is full of life with joy emanating from her.  Although she seems to fill administrative jobs, which she’s wonderfully gifted at, her heart is passionate for women fulfilling their God given talents & calling.  We have spent many hours talking about our dreams of what we will become when we grow up and I can depend upon her to watch very cheesy movies together.  I can always count on her to be supportive, honest & spontaneous with me.  So when she found out she was gluten-intolerant, I knew my job was set to bake GF treats for her.

Double Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes (printable recipe)

Recipe is inspired from Martha Stewart. This is also the time to use good quality chocolate, since it is the star ingredient.  However, don’t let that stop you if you only have chocolate chips on hand.  I’ve used semi-sweet chocolate chips before and they turn out great.

Ingredients:

5 Tb unsalted butter

7 ounces milk chocolate chopped, Belcolade

7 ounces 71% cacao dark bittersweet chopped, Valhrona

1 Tb sugar

1 Tb brown rice flour (or all-purpose flour)

2 eggs

1 tsp salt

Butter & extra flour for muffin tins

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Butter & flour a 6 slot large muffin tin & set aside. Set a heat proof bowl over a pot with simmering water.  Add the butter & chocolate.  Stir to melt and combine.  Remove from heat.

Add the eggs & sugar to a food processor & process for 2 minutes until light in color & foamy.  Add flour & salt, process to combine (10 seconds).  Add about 1/4 cup of melted chocolate to eggs & process till combined.  Continue with 1/4 cup until all of the melted chocolate is mixed with the egg mixture.

Evenly distribute chocolate mixture to the prepared muffin tin.  Gently pat down tops with the back of silver spoon.  Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.  Cool on a rack.  Loosen with a knife around the edges and serve.

**12 cup regular muffin tin bake for 13-15 minutes.

**24 cup miniature muffin tin bake for 10-12 minutes.

Great topped with sliced strawberries, fresh raspberries, a raspberry puree, or ice cream.

 


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!!!

Dave Matthews Band Magic Brownies Cupcakes

I have been reading this cookbook, The Flavor Bible.  It’s inspiring for anyone who takes their cooking or baking skills seriously.  My copy is on loan from the library, but I would recommend this one to your home library archives.  The author made a point how food is not only for sustenance, because if it were, we would eat the same thing 3 times a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year.  Rather, food is about the flavor profiles, which are the taste, mouth feel, aroma & X factor.  All of these being great, but I think the X factor stood out the most.  It is the stories, the total experience, the nostalgia, which comes to mind after eating a specific food.

We all have these.  And quite honestly, it’s what makes certain foods disgusting to some, while to another their “last supper.”  It’s no wonder Jesus chose to perform his first miracle at a wedding feast and through the fruit of the vine.  He wove the spiritual with the senses, creating this amazing story of his complete love & provision.

So as I was making these souffle chocolate cupcakes yesterday, I didn’t have any idea what they would be like. Nor did I realize that they would stir the X factor up.  You see, after my oldest was born and people graciously dropped off meals every night, one night someone dropped off a roasted chicken, salad, and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Dave Matthews Band Magic Brownies Ice Cream.  I personally am a ‘every but the..’ sort of girl.  However, the melding of the brownie chunks, vanilla & raspberry swirled made for quite the addiction.

Oh so back to these cupcakes.  Well, I have been salivating over these for a while.  Not only that, but they are gluten-free, which made me think of my friend Tina (she works with Ben & I feel bad when I only bring in gluten treats).  However, Tina loves raspberry & chocolate, so I changed it up a bit.  Then, when I bit into one, it took me back to our old apartment with my week old baby and a still, quiet moment, that everything would be okay in my insane, postpartum state.  I’m not promising that this will create quite the same X factor for you, but maybe you should make some for yourself and some new mother to create one for her.

Dave Matthews Band Magic Brownie Cupcakes

(printable recipe)

This recipe has been adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Chocolate Souffle Cupcakes, which had a mint topping and used espresso powder instead of the actual espresso I used in mine.  You should do as Deb over at Smitten Kitchen says, “eat at once,” because the coolness of the Raspberry Cream enhances the dessert.

Chocolate Soufflé Cupcakes
6 ounces (170 grams) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons (86 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 Tb fresh espresso
3 large eggs, separated
6 tablespoons (97 grams) sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

White Chocolate Raspberry Cream
2 ounces (56 grams) white chocolate, finely chopped
3 ounces heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup (76 grams) frozen raspberries + 1 tsp water

Get the white chocolate cream ready for later: Put the white chocolate in a small bowl.  Then, bring the cream to a simmer and pour it over the chocolate.  Let it sit for a minute to melt the chocolate, then whisk well. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the cream. Chill until very cold, about two hours.

Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9 standard-size (3-ounce) muffin cups with paper liners.  Put the butter, chocolate & espresso in a saucepan.  Place over low heat, stirring occasionally until melted.  Remove from heat.  Cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally.

Using electric mixer, beat egg yolks and 3 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl until mixture is very thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Briefly beat lukewarm chocolate mixture, then vanilla extract, into yolk mixture.  Since I used my one Kitchenaid bowl for the whole process, I poured the chocolate-egg yolk contents into another bowl.  Clean the bowl & use the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, sugar & salt until medium-firm peaks form.  Using a spatula, fold whites into chocolate mixture in 3 additions. Divide batter among prepared cups, filling each three-fourths of the way.

Bake cakes until tops are puffed and dry to the touch and a tester inserted into the centers comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in pan on a cooling rack.  Once they are cool, add the raspberry cream.

Make Raspberry Puree:Over low heat, add the frozen raspberries and 1 tsp water to a small saucepan.  Allow the raspberries to slowly melt down into a mush.  This will take about 5-7 minutes.  Place a sieve above a small bowl, then dump the raspberry contents into the sieve.  Take a spatula and begin to push the raspberries through the sieve (you are getting the puree while the sieve will catch the seeds).  You will get about 2 Tbs of puree.  Set aside to add to your white chocolate cream.

Putting it altogether: Beat white chocolate cream with electric beaters until medium peaks form. Slowly add the raspberry puree.  The cream might curdle a bit, but don’t over beat.  If you find that the cream isn’t the right consistency, then put the cream in a pastry bag or plastic sandwich bag and place in fridge for a bit.  Cut the end and squeeze out about 1 Tb on top of each cupcake.  Eat immediately to gain the full experience of the cold raspberry cream with the delicate crumb of the brownie.


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.


Gluten-Free Coconut Chocolate Cupcakes

I have a lot of deep thoughts and reflections, but honestly, right now I don’t have any at the tip of my tongue (or should I say tip of my fingers?).  Most of them revolve around this Lenten season.  I have been thinking about the item (or items) I would give up.  However, I never solidified anything, except…making a commitment to eat beans & rice for the next forty days (aside from weekends) for dinner.  I was inspired by Sarah from In Praise of Leftovers (but I can’t seem to find the post).  It made me want to meditate upon the simplicity of eating & life.

However, Lent is not only about giving something up, but as our pastor said at the Ash Wednesday service, “it’s also about our active role as well.”  So I am reflecting, meditating and actively pursuing words of encouragement, praise & thankfulness.  I am shedding off complaints, gossip, tone of voice and a raised voice.  I want to be that woman, that wife, that mom.  That is what I actively seek in this season.  I envisioned a closet full of boxes that need to get thrown out, not even donated, just thrown out, in order to make room for what really matters.  And in my closet of heart & mind, I have kept boxes of trash that tear down and continue old cycles.  But I have sensed God saying last night during the service that “holiness” is really who He is.  And ya know what?  I want that.  I seek holiness.  I seek to throw out the cluttered boxes collecting dust and preventing room for the sun to shine in and new life to breathe in.  What are you actively seeking?  What are your boxes and what is the sun waiting to pour in?

I know that cupcakes aren’t holy and they probably just lead to other cluttered boxes on the scale.  But really, sometimes it’s eating cupcakes that can help alleviate some of the stress–right?  Unless of course, you’re fasting.  My friend Tina is gluten-intolerant and happens to work with Ben, so I’m lucky to see her more often; as well as, find gluten-free treats to bring just for her.  These were what I brought yesterday and she says they’re some of the best.

Gluten-Free Coconut Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache (printable recipe)

This recipe is adapted from Sweet & Natural.  I wanted to use ganache rather than a buttercream.  And since the recipe used coconut flour, I figured it needed all of the goodness, which coconut contributes.  Sorry you non-coconut loving people and sorry you’re missing out on a very good thing.

Cupcakes:

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melt it in a microwave)
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

Preheat the oven to 375*F.  Spray mini cupcake pan with cooking spray (or coconut oil) and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix together coconut flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda.  In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, oil, agave and coconut extract until well-combined.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until blended.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 10 minutes.

While cupcakes are cooling, prepare ganache.  Put either semi-sweet chips in a bowl or chopped semi-sweet in a bowl.  Heat cream over medium heat.  Once it hits a boil, turn the heat off and pour over the chocolate chips.   Whisk until it is completely combined.  Let the ganache cool and solidify, which can take a couple hours.  However, you can choose what the texture of your frosting will be.  Makes 18 to 24 mini cupcakes.


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.

Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Sea Salted Caramel Frosting

My youngest daughter turned one on Saturday.  We had two different celebrations for her to avoid having our house feel like a zoo (small quarters make for a claustrophobic mama).  I made some yummy food, because…well, that’s what I do.  And since she is only one and cannot talk, I got to pick the menu (that’s both good and bad).  It’s good, because it’s pulling out the creative card in the kitchen.  It’s bad, because when it comes to picking out a recipe for dessert the sky is literally the limits.

Ben laughs at me saying it takes me three hours to decide what I want to make and then leaving me only an hour to get it all done (too many options isn’t always the best thing in life).  I made an apple cake with a cream cheese drizzle frosting for our family gathering.  Then, on Sunday I envisioned making a caramel cake with sauteed apples and a salty caramel cream cheese drizzle icing.  However, as the clock continued to tick on while I was no where near my kitchen post…I came upon a brown sugar cupcake recipe and then mixed it with an easy breezy Salted Caramel Frosting.

This was our Tayers (not her name) first taste of cake, which she thoroughly enjoyed.  And I have to say how much I love this little girl.  As I was approaching this weekend (she was born on the 14th), I began reflecting on the 12th (because that’s when my water broke) of what I had been doing a year ago before she graced us with her presence…41 hours later.  She fills the house with laughter, cuddles, and squeals of delight when she should be going to bed.  Let’s face it…to her life is a party, which is to be enjoyed to the fullest.

I remember thinking after she was born, “what did we do?  We had it perfectly with our family of three and now we have this little one who’s going to change everything!” (postpartum moms are allowed to say just about anything, especially when they go through 41 hours of waiting for the baby to be born without drugs, I’m just saying 🙂 )  However, a year later…everything DID change, but it was a good change and she is well worth it.

Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Sea Salted Caramel Frosting

(printable recipe)

The cupcake recipe is from Chockylit, which is a fantastic & inspiring cupcake blog.  The frosting recipe is adapted from here.

Brown Sugar Butter Cupcakes

24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cup light brown sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds after each.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
5. Measure out milk and vanilla together.
6. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
7. Add about one third the milk/vanilla mixture and beat until combined.
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and milk and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to three-quarters full.
10. Bake for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Sea Salted Caramel Frosting

1/2 cup (one stick) butter

1 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4-1/3 cup milk

additional sea salt for sprinkling

Melt butter in saucepan and continue over heat until the butter is brown, but not black.

Remove pan from heat and add lemon juice and brown sugar–stir until smooth.

Return pan to a med-low heat and bring to boil while constantly stirring. Boil mixture for one minute and remove from heat. Then add cream, stir until cream is incorporated.

Return pan to heat and stir until just boiling. Then remove from heat, add salt and let mixture cool to room temperature. When you taste the mixture at this point is may taste very strong and a bit too salty–that’s what you want.

Transfer caramel mixture to mixing bowl and slowly beat in sugar and vanilla until smooth.  **my notes: I beat mine in my kitchen aid stand mixer, which mixed it up into a blob similar to playdoh.  I then added milk & mixed it again, in order to make it spreadable, which worked.  It may have been better if it was mixed by hand.

Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with sea salt.  Tastes even better the day after.