Cupcakes





Banana Toffee Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

 
When you have a freezer full of ripe bananas, the first thing that comes to mind is banana bread. I have this fabulous banana bread recipe but honestly I’ve made it so many times that I’m sick of it. So I thought I would try making banana cupcakes instead. And because I'm not a huge fan of banana muffins, I wanted to make a banana cupcake that would never be confused with a muffin. Featured on Cupcake Wars in 2011, this banana cupcake has delicious bits of chocolate toffee candy mixed throughout and is topped with salted caramel buttercream. No one could ever confuse this cupcake with a muffin. I loved it!
 
Adapted from Food Network’s Banana Toffee Cupcakes
 
Makes 24 cupcakes
 



 

Ingredients

 

For the Chocolate Toffee Candy Bar:

  • 1-1/2 cups slivered almonds 
  • 1-1/2 cups butter (3 sticks)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1-1/2 to 2 bags chocolate chips (preferably 60% bittersweet chips)
  • 1/3 cup almonds
 

For the Cupcakes:

  • 4 ounces unsalted butter
  • 5 ounces light brown sugar
  • 4 ounces granulated sugar
  • 3-1/2 ounces whole egg
  • 12-1/2 ounces ripe banana puree
  • 14 ounces cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 ounces chocolate toffee candy bar bits
  • 4 ounces buttermilk
 

For the Salted Caramel Buttercream:

  • 1-2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
 
 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1: For the salted caramel: Combine the sugar, 1/3 cup water and the corn syrup in a small saucepan. Stir with a wooden spoon and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer, swirling the pot occasionally, until the mixture is a beautiful amber color (watch closely). 
 
Step 2: Once the desired color is reached, immediately add the butter and stir with a wooden spoon until completely incorporated. 
 
Step 3: Remove from the heat. Add the heavy cream and stir to incorporate. Stir in the coarse salt. 
 
Step 4: Pour the salted caramel into a bowl. Cool completely, stirring occasionally. 
 
Step 5: For the chocolate toffee: Toast 1-1/2 cups slivered almonds for about 10 minutes in a 425 degree oven until lightly browned (watch carefully; it can burn quickly). Place in a bowl.
 
Step 6:  Place the remaining 1/3 cup almonds in a blender and blend/grate to a fine consistency; set aside. 
 
Step 7: In fairly deep soup pot, combine the butter, sugar, salt, and water. Cook, stirring with a long-handled spoon on medium high heat. When temperature reaches 140 degrees C, add toasted almonds. Continue cooking and stirring. 
 
Step 8: When temperature reaches 150-154 degrees C, pour out quickly on to lightly oiled cookie sheets (2 small or 1 very large) and spread thin with the back of the spoon. When cool spread with melted chocolate chips and sprinkle with ground almonds. When cold, break into pieces.
 
Step 9: For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a two standard size muffin pan with 24  cupcake liners.
 
Step 10: Combine the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. 
 
Step 11: Scrape down the bowl and add the egg and banana puree. Cream for an additional 3 minutes. 
 
Step 12: Scrape down the bowl, and then add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix for 30 seconds on low speed. 
 
Step 13: Add the toffee bits and buttermilk. Stir on low speed until combined.
 
Step 14: Fill the prepared cupcake liners three-quarters full with batter and bake until golden brown and baked through, about 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely.
 
 
Step 15: For the marbled salted Caramel Italian Meringue Butter: Stir the 1/2 to 1 cup salted caramel in by hand to create a marbled appearance. Place in a pastry bag fitted with a large round or star tip. Pipe a generous amount of buttercream on top of each cupcake, and garnish with crumbled toffee.
 
 



 

Blueberry Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting





Ingredients

  •     1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  •     1 cup granulated sugar
  •     3 extra large eggs
  •     1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  •     2 cups all-purpose flour
  •     1 teaspoon baking powder
  •     1/2 teaspoon salt
  •     1/3 cup milk
  •     1-1/2 cups fresh (or frozen) blueberries gently tossed in 2 tablespoons flour





Instructions


Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.

Step 2: With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Add vanilla.

Step 3: In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk. Gently fold in blueberries. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.

Step 4: Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of cupcakes comes out dry.

Step 5: Completely cool cupcakes in pan before frosting with lemon buttercream frosting.





Chocolate Cardamom Cupcakes

 
Makes 24 cupcakes
 



 

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 2 ounces dark (64% or higher) chocolate melted
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 recipe for chocolate cream cheese frosting
 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1: Heat the oven to 350 F and line 24 cupcake tins with cupcake paper liners.
  
Step 2: In a large bowl whisk together the flour, spices, salt, baking powder, and baking soda until well blended.  Add the sugar and whisk to incorporate.
 
Step 3: In a medium bowl combine the butter, melted chocolate, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla.
 
Step 4: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until blended, but do not over mix.
  
Step 5: Divide the batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about three quarters full. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when gently pressed in the center.  Cool the cupcakes in the pan for three minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
 
Step 6: Once the cupcakes are cool frost the cupcakes as desired with chocolate cream cheese frosting.
 



 

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

Makes 22 to 24 cupcakes




 

Ingredient 

 

For the cupcakes:

 
  • 1 cup water

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons natural cocoa powder (not dutch processed)
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

 

For the chocolate buttercream:

  • 1-1/2 cups of unsalted butter (3 sticks)
  • 5 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 cup natural cocoa
  • 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate (100% cacao)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

 




 

Instructions

Step 1: For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line two standard cupcake pans with liners.

Step 2: In a small saucepan, bring water, vegetable oil, butter, and cocoa powder to boil. Whisk until smooth.  Remove from heat and add semisweet chocolate. Whisk to combine until chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool.

Step 3: In a bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Slowly add cooled chocolate mixture to egg mixture.

Step 4: Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Add liquid mixture to flour mixture until just combined.

Step 5: Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle of cupcakes comes out clean.

Step 6: For the chocolate buttercream: Melt chocolate in microwave, stirring every 30 seconds.

Step 7: Butter butter, cocoa, and powdered sugar until light and fluffy

Step 8: Add melted chocolate and beat until light and fluffy
Step 9: Add vanilla and then add heavy cream and then beat the hell out of it.
Step 9: Completely cool cupcakes in pan before frosting with chocolate ganache frosting


 




 

Coconut Cupcakes with Lime Filling and Coconut Buttercream

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated, Published March 1, 2001.

Makes 22 to 24 cupcakes

 





Ingredients

 

For the cupcake:

  •     1 large egg
  •     5 large egg whites
  •     3/4 cup cream of coconut
  •     1/4 cup water
  •     1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •     1 teaspoon coconut extract
  •     2-1/4 cups cake flour (9 ounces), sifted
  •     1 cup granulated sugar
  •     1 tablespoon baking powder
  •     3/4 teaspoon table salt
  •     12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1-1/2 sticks), cut into 12 pieces, softened, but still cool
  •     2 cups packed sweetened shredded coconut (about 8 ounces)


For the lime filling:

 

  •     3/4 cup lime juice, strained
  •     1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
  •     1 cup sugar
  •     1/4 cup cornstarch
  •     pinch of salt
  •     2 whole eggs
  •     2 egg yolks
  •     1 teaspoon vanilla
  •     1 recipe for coconut buttercream





Instructions


Step 1: For the Cake: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

Step 2: Beat egg whites and whole egg in large measuring cup with fork to combine. Add cream of coconut, water, vanilla, and coconut extract and beat with fork until thoroughly combined.

Step 3: Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on lowest speed to combine, about 30 seconds. With mixer still running on lowest speed, add butter 1 piece at a time, then beat until mixture resembles coarse meal, with butter bits no larger than small peas, 2 to 2-1/2 minutes.

Step 4: With mixer still running, add 1 cup liquid. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds. With mixer still running, add remaining 1 cup liquid in steady stream (this should take about 15 seconds). Stop mixer and scrape down bowl with rubber spatula, then beat at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds. (Batter will be thick.)

Step 5: Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filing each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden and a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 17 to 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. 

Step 6: For the lime filling:  Start the lime filling by combining the lime juice and butter in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the butter melts.

Step 7: Meanwhile, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in small bowl. Combine eggs in another bowl. Whisk sugar mixture into eggs until smooth.  Slowly drizzle the lime juice mixture into egg mixture, whisking constantly. You need to pour slowly or the eggs will scramble. 

Step 8: Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook until thick, 8 to 10 minutes. Off heat, stir in vanilla. Place filling in bowl; press plastic wrap on surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill completely.

Step 9: To assemble the cupcakes: When cupcakes are cool, cut an upside down cone shape out of the top of your cupcake. Add your lime filling to a pastry bag and squeeze filling in the cupcake using a plain round pastry tip.



Step 10: Frost cupcakes with coconut buttercream and sprinkle cupcakes with coconut.





Devil's Food Cupcakes with Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting

Anyone who knows me even a little, knows how crazy I am about chocolate and peanut butter.  So it’s no surprise that these cupcakes would be in my top 5 all time favorite cupcakes in the entire world. These rich, velvety, chocolate cupcakes, filled with a creamy peanut butter buttercream and frosted with that same creamy peanut butter buttercream, really are exceptional!  In fact, they are so exceptional that heaven to me would be swimming in a pool filled with these cupcakes.

Cake recipe adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Rose's Heavenly Cakes

 
Makes 24 cupcakes
 



 

Ingredients

 

For the Devil's Food Cake:

 
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate (90% or higher)
  • 3/4 cup plus 1-1/2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-1/4 cups cake flour, sifted and leveled off
  • 1-1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 recipe for creamy peanut butter frosting
 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1:  Preheat the oven to 350. Line 2 standard cupcake pans with liners.
 
Step 2: In a medium bowl, whisk the chocolate, cocoa, and boiling water until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and cool for about an hour at room temperature.
 
Step 3: Combine  the eggs, yolks, sour cream, vanilla, and half the chocolate mixture in another bowl, just until slightly combined.
 
Step 4: Make the batter In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds. 
 
Step 5: Add the butter and the remaining chocolate mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
 
Step 6: Starting on medium-low speed, with the mixer off between additions, add the egg mixture in two parts. Beat on medium speed for 45 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure.The batter will be slightly fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
 
Step 7:   Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filing each three-quarters full. 
 
Step 8: Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden and a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 17 to 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. 
 
Step 9: To assemble the cupcakes: When cupcakes are cool, cut an upside down cone shape out of the top of your cupcake. Add your peanut butter  filling to a pastry bag and squeeze filling in the cupcake using a plain round pastry tip.
 
Step 10: Frost cupcakes with creamy peanut butter frosting and sprinkle with chopped peanut butter cups, if desired.
 
 
 
 



 

Double Shot Mocha Latte Cupcakes

 
This delicious, rich, chocolaty, espresso cream-filled cupcake leaves me speechless.
 
Adapted from Food Network's Double Shot Mocha Latte Cupcakes
 
Makes 24 cupcakes
 



 

Ingredients

 

For the Dark Chocolate Ganache:

  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
 

For the Cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup hot espresso
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 

For the Espresso Cream Filling:

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cold espresso
 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1: For the ganache: Put the chips in a medium bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan just until it bubbles around the sides. 
 
Step 2: Immediately pour the hot cream over the chocolate, give the bowl a good shake and let stand 10 minutes, shaking the bowl occasionally. Then whisk until the mixture is homogenous, 20 to 30 seconds. 
 
Step 3: Chill about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping down the sides, until the mixture is almost spreadable. Give it another brief whisk, and let stand at room temperature until it's at frosting consistency.
 
Step 4: For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line standard muffin pans with 24 cupcake liners. 
 
Step 5: In a small bowl, stir the chocolate chips into the hot espresso until melted; cool in the refrigerator to room temperature.
 
Step 6: Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a bowl. 
 
Step 7: In the bowl of an electric stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the eggs, granulated sugar, applesauce, oil and vanilla at medium-high speed for about 2 minutes. Applesauce replaces some of the oil and sugar in these cupcakes to bring moisture and sweetness to the table.
 
Step 8: Beat in the cooled chocolate mixture until the mixture is homogenous. 
 
Step 9: With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated, scraping the sides as necessary. It's ok if the batter is slightly lumpy. 
 
Step 10: Using a 1/4-cup ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake liner with batter.
 
Step 11: Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 18 to 20 minutes. 
 
Step 12: Transfer the pans to cooling racks and cool for about 10 minutes, and then transfer the cupcakes to the racks to cool completely before filling and frosting.
 
 
Step 13: To make the filling: While the cupcakes cool, make the filling. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the cream and confectioners' sugar to firm peaks. On low speed, whisk in the espresso. Use immediately, or hold in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.
 
Step 14: To assemble: Use an apple corer or melon baller to remove the center from each cupcake, about three-quarters of the way into the cupcake. 
 
Step 14: Use a pastry bag to pipe some of the espresso cream filling into the centers. 
 
Step 15: Pipe a large rosette of dark chocolate ganache on top of each cupcake.
 



 

German Chocolate Cupcakes

I have been wanting to make these cupcakes for some time, and I was so excited when a friend of mine recently requested them. These classic german chocolate cupcakes are pure joy and deliciously decadent.
 
 
Makes 16 to 18 cupcakes 
 



 

Ingredients:

 

For the cake:

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (66 grams) unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup boiling water (118 grams)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs yolks, room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (75 grams) cake flour
  • 2/3 cup (75 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups (300 grams) superfine sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
 

For the coconut pecan topping:

  • 1 cup pecan pieces, broken medium coarse
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk 
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 8 tablespoons (one stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cups sweetened coconut
 

For the chocolate frosting:

  • 1⁄2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 2⁄3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1⁄3 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
 



 

Instructions:

 
Step 1: For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.
 
Step 2: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk, by hand, the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. To speed cooling, place it in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.
 
Step 3: Add the oil and yolks to the mixer bowl with the cocoa mixture. Attach the whisk beater. Starting on low speed gradually raise the speed to medium and beat for about one minute, or until smooth and shiny, and resembling a buttercream. 
 
Step 4: Scrape down the sides bowl. Beat in the vanilla for a few seconds.
 
Step 5: In a medium bowl, whisk the cake flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 
 
Step 6: Add half of the flour mixture to the chocolate and beat on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture. Raise the speed to medium-high heat for one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bottom of the bowl. The mixture will be very thick. 
 
Step 7: On low speed, add the egg whites. Gradually raise the speed to medium-high heat and beat for two minutes. 
 
Step 8: Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the centers. 
 
Step 9: Remove cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool several minutes in cupcake pan then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, top each cupcake with 2 tablespoons of the coconut pecan topping (in a mound in the center) then pipe the Chocolate frosting around cupcakes. 
 
Step 10: For the topping: Spread the pecans evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about seven minutes to enhance the flavor. Stir once or twice to ensure even toasting and avoid over browning. Set aside.
 
Step 11: In a medium heavy saucepan, whisk together the condensed milk and yolks. 
 
Step 12: Add the butter and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula, reaching well to the edges and bottom. As soon as the mixture starts to simmer, lower the heat or occasionally remove the pan from heat to keep it from cooking too fast or burning. Simmer for about five minutes, or until thickened enough to pool slightly on the surface before disappearing (about 175°F). 
 
Step 13: Stir in the vanilla, coconut, and pecans. Continue cooking on medium heat for 1 minute. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl. Cover with a towel and allow to cool to room temperature, or just barely warm, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming. 
 
Step 14: For the frosting: Melt butter, and then stir in cocoa.
 
Step 15: Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add a small amount of additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.
 
 



 

Limoncello Cupcakes with Limoncello Buttercream

Makes 20 cupcakes

 

Ingredients

  •     3/4 cup butter
  •     3 eggs
  •     1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  •     1 teaspoon baking powder
  •     1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  •     1/4 teaspoon salt
  •     2/3 cup milk
  •     1/4 cup limoncello
  •     1-1/2 cups sugar
  •     1 tablespoon finely shredded lemon peel
  •     1 recipe for Limoncello Buttercream or Limoncello Frosting

Instructions

Step 1: Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, line twenty 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups.

Step 2: In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Step 3: In a 2-cup glass measuring cup combine milk and limoncello; set aside.
Step 4: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 5: In a large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and lemon peel; beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and milk mixture to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.

Step 6: Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Use the back of a spoon to smooth out batter in cups.

Step 7: Bake about 18 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool cupcakes in muffin cups on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin cups. Cool completely on wire racks.

Step 8: Up to 1 hour before serving, generously spread or pipe frosting on each cupcake.

Make-Ahead Directions: Store unfrosted cupcakes in a single layer in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Or store unfrosted cupcakes in a single layer in an airtight freezer container in the freezer for up to 1 month. Thaw cupcakes at room temperature before frosting.

Martha Stewart's Tiramisu Cupcakes

Makes 18 cupcakes

Ingredients

For the cupcake:

 

  •     1-1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
  •     3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  •     1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  •     1/4 cup milk
  •     1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved (I substituted 1 teaspoon vanilla)
  •     4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
  •     3 large whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, room temperature
  •     1 cup sugar
  •     Coffee-Marsala Syrup
  •     1 recipe for Mascarpone Frosting
  •     Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

 

For the Coffee-Marsala Syrup:

  •     1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly brewed very strong coffee (or espresso)
  •     1 ounce Marsala (you can also use rum, brandy, or Kahlua)
  •     1/4 cup sugar


Instructions


Step 1: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Step 2: Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

Step 3: Heat milk and vanilla-bean pod and seeds (or 1 teaspoon vanilla) in a small saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from heat.

Step 4: Whisk in butter until melted, and let stand 15 minutes. Strain milk mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, and discard vanilla-bean pod.

Step 5: With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together whole eggs, yolks, and sugar. Set mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk by hand until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm, about 6 minutes.

Step 6: Remove bowl from heat. With an electric mixer on high speed, whisk until mixture is fluffy, pale yellow, and thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface for several seconds when whisk is lifted.

Step 7: Gently but thoroughly fold flour mixture into the egg mixture in three batches; stir 1/2 cup batter into the strained milk mixture to thicken, then fold milk mixture into the remaining batter until just combined.

Step 8: Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until centers are completely set and edges are light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

Step 9: For the coffee Marsala Syrup: Stir together coffee, marsala, and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.

Step 10: To finish, brush tops of cupcakes evenly with coffee-marsala syrup; repeat until all syrup has been used. Allow cupcakes to absorb liquid 30 minutes.

Step 11: Dollop frosting onto cupcakes; refrigerate up to overnight in airtight containers. Dust generously with cocoa powder just before serving.


 

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting

Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes


Makes 18 to 20 cupcakes


Ingredients

  •     1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  •     3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  •     1/2 teaspoon salt
  •     1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  •     6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  •     1-1/3 cups sugar
  •     2/3 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
  •     3 large eggs
  •     1/2 cup sour cream
  •     1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  •     3/4 cup coarsely chopped salted roasted peanuts
  •     1 recipe for Peanut Butter Frosting


Instructions


Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Step 2: Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Step 3: With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy (cream up to 5 minutes). Reduce speed to low.

Step 4: Mix in peanut butter. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in vanilla.

Step 5: Gradually add flour mixture, beat until just combined. Mix in sour cream and peanuts.

Step 6: Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filing each three-quarters full.

Step 7: Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden and a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 22 minutes.

Step 8: Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.  Once cupcakes are cool, frost tops with peanut butter frosting.  Decorated cupcakes will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 days.

Pistachio Cardamom Cupcakes with Italian Meringue Buttercream

Makes 12 cupcakes


Ingredients

  •     2 eggs
  •     2/3 cup sour cream, divided
  •     1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  •     1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  •     1/3 cup of unsalted, unroasted pistachios
  •     1 cup of sugar
  •     2 cups of cake flour
  •     2 teaspoons of ground cardamom
  •     1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  •     1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  •     1/2 teaspoon of salt
  •     1-1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  •     1 recipe for Italian Meringue Buttercream


Instructions


Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners.

Step 2: In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, 3 tablespoons of the sour cream, vanilla, and almond extract, just until lightly combined.

Step 3: In a food processor, process the pistachios with the sugar until finely ground but not to a powder.

Step 4: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, pistachio mixture, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom on low speed for 30 seconds.




Step 5: Add the butter and remaining sour cream. Mix 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.

Step 6: 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 and strengthen the structure.

 



Step 7: Place into cupcake papers, and bake for 16-20 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean (no crumbs) in a 350 degree oven. Let cool on a wire rack.


Step 8: Frost with Italian Meringue Buttercream.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Pumpkin or Dark Rum Cream Cheese Frosting

The weather is getting colder, the leaves are changing, and fall is in full swing. If I had to pick one food item that reminds me of fall, it would be pumpkin. And right now pumpkin is everywhere, even in our beer and coffee. I had a craving for pumpkin cupcakes and started thinking about the best pumpkin cake I ever had. Then I realized that I had only had and made a pumpkin cake once in my life -- it was Warren Brown’s pumpkin pound cake recipe, and it was superb.  
 
Warren used to own several bakeries (called CakeLove) in the DC metro area.  I was sorry to hear that the last CakeLove closed in December 2015, however, Warren is still making cakes -  actually he’s now selling cake in a jar. And according to his website, you can buy CakeLove in a jar at Whole Foods.  The next time I'm there, I'll have to remember to look for it. His pumpkin pound cake recipe is seriously to die for and the recipe works perfectly as cupcakes.   The cupcakes are very moist and have loads of pumpkin flavor. They contain the perfect amount of spice, and I absolutely love the hint of rum in both the cake and frosting.

 

Adapted from Cake Love, by Warren Brown

Makes 36 to 38 cupcakes




 


Ingredients

 

  •     3 cups extra-fine granulated sugar
  •     1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  •     2 eggs
  •     4 egg yolks
  •     2-3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  •     1 tablespoon baking powder
  •     1-1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
  •     1/2 teaspoon table salt
  •     1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  •     1 can pure pumpkin (15 oz.)
  •     5 tablespoons heavy cream
  •     1 tablespoon honey
  •     1 tablespoon dark rum, optional
  •     1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  •     1 recipe for Pumpkin or Dark Rum Cream Cheese Frosting



 


Instructions


Step 1: Preheat oven to 350˚ F with rack in center.  

Step 2: Cream the sugar and butter together in a stand mixer (with paddle attachment) on low for 5 minutes.

Step 3: Add eggs and yolks one at a time, letting each incorporate before adding the next.

Step 4: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, ground cloves, salt and allspice.


Step 5: Combine pumpkin, cream, honey, rum and vanilla extract.  


Step 6: With mixer still on low, alternately add dry and wet ingredients to butter mixture, beginning and ending with dry.  Scrape the sides of the bowl to the bottom, then mix on medium speed for 20 seconds.

Step 7: Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


Step 8: Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
 
Step 9:  Frost cupcakes with pumpkin or dark rum cream cheese frosting and dust with cinnamon.


 




 

Red Velvet Valentine Cupcakes

Red velvet cake is a southern tradition and since making these cupcakes, I've discovered that it is a favorite among many people, especially my Aunt Phil. I find the addition of vinegar in the recipe a little weird, and have always wondered why it's needed. I decided to go straight to the guru on all things about cakes - Rose Levy Beranbaum.  Rose explains the reason for the vinegar in red velvet cake in her book, "Rose's Heavenly Cakes."  This is an awesome cookbook and I would highly recommend buying it if you love to bake.  


Vinegar, as we all know, is highly acidic. The white vinegar raises the acidity of the batter, and its addition intensifies the red color of the cocoa and of the cake.  The buttermilk in the cake is also highly acidic - but its acidity is counteracted by the addition of baking soda (i.e. sodium bicarbonate).  Rose adds that you can omit the vinegar if you substitute baking powder for the baking soda.  Baking powder is a mixture of dry acid or acid salts (potassium bitartrate) and baking soda, with cornstarch or flour. The acidity from both the buttermilk and baking powder makes adding the vinegar unnecessary. The recipe below is your basic red velvet cake recipe using the vinegar. I plan to try Rose's recipe (without the vinegar) sometime and you should too.

Makes 18 to 20 cupcakes.

Ingredients

  •     1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
  •     1 cup buttermilk
  •     2 large eggs, room temperature
  •     2 tablespoon red food coloring
  •     1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •     1 teaspoon white vinegar
  •     2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  •     1-1/2 cups of sugar
  •     2 tablespoons dutch-processed cocoa powder
  •     1 teaspoon baking soda
  •     1 teaspoon salt
  •     1 recipe for Cream Cheese Frosting

 

Instructions


Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners

Step 2: In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

Step 3: In mixing bowl of electric mixer, beat oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until smooth and well blended.  

Step 4: Scoop into cupcake papers, about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Rotate the pan after the first 15 minutes of baking to ensure even baking.

Step 5: Allow to cool for one minute in the pan then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 6:  Frost with cream cheese frosting.
 

Salted Caramel Cupcakes with Chocolate Toffee Crumble

I have been obsessed with salted caramel cupcakes and have tried many iterations of the basic salted caramel cupcake recipe. First, I tried using Rose Levy Berambaum's recipe for caramel cake and frosting it with a salted caramel Italian meringue buttercream. The cupcake was delicious (as expected since it was a Rose Levy Berambaum recipe) but the entire cupcake combination didn’t quite have the potent salted caramel flavor  that I wanted. Next I found a triple salted caramel cupcake recipe on sprinklebakes.com. It had gooey salted caramel oozing out of the middle, and after I slightly adapted the buttercream recipe to my taste (I prefer an Italian, French or Swiss buttercream rather than an American buttercream), I thought it was exactly what I was looking for in a salted caramel cupcake until I found the recipe below. This cupcake apparently won on Cupcake Wars in 2012 and I can certainly understand why and agree with the judges.

The original recipe called for a pecan coconut brittle crumble and the first time I made these, I made the crumble as instructed and sprinkled a dusting on each cupcake.  Many of my friends didn't like the coconut in brittle  and to be honest I wasn't crazy about it either -- so the next time I made them I used a homemade chocolate toffee crumble.  The chocolate toffee crumble woked perfectly with the flavor profile of the cupcake and it put this cupcake over the top for me.  It's my new favorite salted caramel cupcake.

 

Adapted from the Food Network's Salted Caramel Cupcakes with Pecan Coconut Brittle Crumble and Caramel Swiss Buttercream

Makes 24 cupcakes




 

Ingredients

 

For the Homemade Salted Caramel:

  • 1-2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt

 

For the Chocolate Toffee Candy Bar:

  • 1-1/2 cups slivered almonds 
  • 1-1/2 cups butter (3 sticks)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1-1/2 to 2 bags chocolate chips (preferably 60% bittersweet chips)
  • 1/3 cup almonds

 

For the Cupcakes:

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
 

For the Caramel Italian Meringue Buttercream:

  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup homemade salted caramel
 



 

Instructions:

 
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two standard muffin pans with 24 cupcake liners.
 
Step 2: For the salted caramel: Combine the sugar, 1/3 cup water and the corn syrup in a small saucepan. Stir with a wooden spoon and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer, swirling the pot occasionally, until the mixture is a beautiful amber color (watch closely). 
 
Step 3: Once the desired color is reached, immediately add the butter and stir with a wooden spoon until completely incorporated. 
 
Step 4: Remove from the heat. Add the heavy cream and stir to incorporate. Stir in the coarse salt. 
 
Step 5: Pour 1/2 cup of the salted caramel into a small bowl or measuring cup, and the remainder into another bowl. Cool completely, stirring occasionally. 
 
Step 6: For the chocolate toffee: Toast 1-1/2 cups slivered almonds for about 10 minutes in a 425 degree oven until lightly browned (watch carefully; it can burn quickly). Place in a bowl.
 
Step 7:  Place the remaining 1/3 cup almonds in a blender and blend/grate to a fine consistency; set aside. 
 
Step 8: In fairly deep soup pot, combine the butter, sugar, salt, and water. Cook, stirring with a long-handled spoon on medium high heat. When temperature reaches 140 degrees C, add toasted almonds. Continue cooking and stirring. 
 
Step 9: When temperature reaches 150-154 degrees C, pour out quickly on to lightly oiled cookie sheets (2 small or 1 very large) and spread thin with the back of the spoon. When cool spread with melted chocolate chips and sprinkle with ground almonds. When cold, break into pieces.
 
Step 10: For the cupcakes: In a medium bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder and kosher salt and set aside. 
 
Step 11: Combine the milk and vanilla and set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. 
 
Step 12: Once incorporated, add the eggs, one at a time, at low speed. Be sure to incorporate after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Do not over beat. 
 
Step 13: Once incorporated, add the flour mixture and the milk mixture. Alternate with three parts flour and two parts milk, being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary (we don't want any butter chunks stuck to the bottom). Using a 1/4-cup ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake liner with batter.
 
Step 14: Bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pans to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, and then transfer the cupcakes to the racks to cool completely before filling and frosting.
 
Step 15: While the cupcakes are baking, make the buttercream: Separate the egg whites and place them in the bowl of the standing mixer fitted with a wire whip attachment.
   
Step 16 Measure 1 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup water into a heavy bottom 1-2 quart sauce pan. Gently stir to combine. 
   
Step 17: Measure 1/4 cup of sugar into a small bowl and set aside. cut the butter into tablespoon size pieces and set aside in a medium bowl. 
   
Step 18: Begin heating the sugar syrup. Place the pot with sugar over medium-high heat. Partially cover with a lid to capture the evaporating water - this will help moisten the sides of the pot to prevent sugar crystals separating from the syrup.
   
Step 19: Begin whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks in a standing mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment on high speed. When the meringue is at stiff peaks, keep the mixer running and pour 1/4 cup sugar into the meringue.
 
Step 20: Test the temperature of the sugar with a candy thermometer. Raise the heat to bring the syrup to 248 degrees Fahrenheit if it is not there already. When the  syrup is at 248 degrees F, remove the thermometer and slowly pour the syrup into the meringue. 
 
Step 21: When pouring, keep your eye on the bowl. Aim for the space between the mixer bowl and the revolving whip. To maintain the same rate of pouring, poor slowly and raise the pot from your shoulder.
 
Step 22: To assemble: Use a small serrated knife, core each cupcake about 1-1/4 inches wide at the top and halfway into the cake. Fill each with about 1 tablespoon of the remaining salted caramel. 
 
Step 23: Frost each cupcake with a generous amount of caramel buttercream and garnish with crumbled pecan coconut brittle. 
 



 

Salted Caramel Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

Makes 12 cupcakes
 

Ingredients

 

For the caramel for the batter:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream, at room temperature

 

For the cupcakes:

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup caramel for the batter
  • 1 recipe for salted caramel buttercream frosting
 

Instructions

 
Step 1: To make the caramel filling: Melt the sugar and salt over medium high heat in a large pot. Whisk the sugar as it melts and cook until it becomes a deep amber color. 
 
  
 
Step 2: Add the butter and stir it in until melted.
 
 
Step 3: Carefully, pour in the heavy cream (it will sputter and foam, so step back a bit), whisk until you get a smooth sauce. You may have some lumps but keep stirring until they have melted. Remove from heat and let cool. You should have close to 2 cups.  You will need 1 cup of caramel for your batter.  Use the remaining caramel to make your buttercream frosting.
 
 
Step 4: To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line at least 12 muffin tins with papers. 
 
Step 5: In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla until lightly combined.
 
Step 6: In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix on low speed using the flat beater for 30 seconds.
 
Step 7: Add the butter and 1 cup of the cooled caramel. Mix 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.
 
Step 8: Starting on low speed, gradually add the egg mixture in two parts, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. 
 
Step 9: Divide the batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about halfway full. Bake for about 20- 25 minutes (the tops should spring back from a gentle touch.) When done, transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.
 
 
Step 10: Pipe salted caramel buttercream frosting on cupcakes.

Triple Coconut Cupcakes filled with a Rum-Infused Coconut Custard

When I find a recipe that I want to make, my general rule of thumb is to follow the recipe exactly the first time. Then, I usually think about what I liked and didn’t like and ways to perfect the recipe.  
 
The coconut cake recipe below is by Rose Levy Beranbaum, who is the ultimate cake guru. And that's not just my opinion, that's a fact.  I have never found one of her cake recipes that wasn’t perfect. What I like most about Rose’s recipes is that she uses the “reverse creaming method” for most, if not all of her cakes. In the reverse-creaming method, you mix all the dry ingredients and the sugar together first.  Next you mix the fats (e.g., butter) and a portion of the liquids into the dry ingredients followed by the remaining liquids. For me, this method is so easy and produces a perfect cake crumb every time. 
 
The first time I made a coconut cupcake, I used Rose’s heavenly coconut seduction cake recipe and frosted the cupcakes with a coconut Italian meringue buttercream.  In my opinion, while the cake part of the cupcake was perfect, the overall taste of the cupcake and frosting left me wanting —the coconut flavor was just so underwhelming. So I started thinking about how I could jazz it up. Then it hit me like a ton a bricks — the answer was simple — I could fill the cupcakes with a rum-infused coconut custard. 
 
These cupcakes are sweet, moist, and luscious. The tender crumb of the cupcake is loaded with a triple blast of coconut flavor  - shredded unsweetened coconut, cream of coconut, and coconut extract. They are filled with a rum-infused coconut custard and then topped with a tropical coconut buttercream and finished off with a nice nutty crunch of shredded toasted sweetened coconut. These are not your ordinary run-of-the-mill coconut cupcakes. It is the ultimate coconut cupcake.  
 
Coconut cake recipe adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum, Rose's Heavenly Cakes 
Rum-infused coconut custard recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours 
 
 
Makes 12 cupcakes
 



 

Ingredients

 

For the cupcakes:

  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup canned cream of coconut, divided (processed in food processor before measuring)
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon superfine sugar 
  • 1/2 cup desiccated unsweetened grated coconut
  • 2 cups cake flour, sifted into the cup and leveled off 
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)

 

For the rum-infused coconut custard:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3-1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut

 

For the coconut buttercream:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons coconut extract
  • 1/2 cup of cream of coconut
  • Lightly toasted coconut for adding to the top of the buttercream
 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1: To make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line 12 cupcake tins with cupcake papers
 
Step 2: In a medium bowl whisk the egg whites, 3 tablespoons of the cream of coconut, the vanilla, and the coconut extract just until lightly combined.
 
Step 3: In a food processor, process the sugar and coconut until the coconut is powder fine.
 
Step 4: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the coconut-sugar mixture, flour, baking powder, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and remaining cream of coconut. Mix 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. 
 
Step 5: Starting on medium-low speed, gradually add the egg white mixture in two batches, beating for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the surface evenly.
 
Step 6: Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about three quarters full. Bake for about 20- 25 minutes (the tops should spring back from a gentle touch.) When done, transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.
 
Step 7: Toast coconut at 350 degrees until lightly toasted.  
 
Step 8: To make the custard: Bring the milk to a soft boil. 
 
Step 9: In a large saucepan whisk together the sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch and salt until well combined. While constantly whisking, pour 1/4 of the milk into the egg mixture. Continuing to whisk, slowly pour the remaining milk into the eggs. While still whisking, heat the mixture over medium heat until it begins to boil; let boil for up to 2 minutes, until it thickens. 
 
Step 10: Mix in the rum and vanilla. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Then add the bits of butter. This should make the custard very smooth. Stir in the coconut. Cover with plastic wrap pressed against the custard and cool in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. You can also store the custard overnight until ready to use.
 
Step 11: To make the coconut buttercream: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whip butter on medium-high speed until very fluffy, about 8 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add powdered sugar and salt, and beat on low to incorporate.
 
Step 12: Add heavy cream, coconut extract, and cream of coconut, mixing on low until combined. Increase mixer speed to high and beat until very light and fluffy, about 5 to 6 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
 
Step 13: To assemble the cupcakes: Remove the middle of the cupcake using a cupcake corer. Fill the center with the coconut custard filling. Top with coconut buttercream and sprinkle with toasted shredded coconut. 
 
 
 



 

Triple Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes (http://www.sprinklebakes.com/)

Makes 15 cupcakes
 




Ingredients

 

For the cupcakes:

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature 
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar 
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
 

For the salted caramel filling:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter cubed
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons heavy cream, at room temperature
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tins with papers.
 
Step 2: Combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
 
Step 3: Cream butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until pale fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated.  Add vanilla.  Mix and scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
 
Step 4: Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and beating until combined after each.
 
Step 5: Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about halfway full.  Bake for about 25 minutes. When done, transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.
 
Step 6: For the salted caramel filling: Melt the sugar over medium  high heat in a large pot.  Whisk the sugar as it melts and cook until it becomes a deep amber color. Add the butter and stir it in until melted.
 
Step 7: Pour in the heavy cream (mixture will foam so step back) and whisk until you get a smooth sauce. You may have some lumps but keep stirring until they have melted.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  
 
Step 8: To assemble the cupcakes: Cut a small round piece out of the tops of each cooled cupcake and pour in 1 teaspoon of caramel.
 
 
Step 9:  Replace the cake piece and set cupcakes aside. Top caramel-filled cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream.
 
 
 




Vanilla Cupcakes with White Chocolate Vanilla Buttercream

My friend, Jeannette, asked me to make a very vanilla white cupcake for her community's annual Valentine's Day cupcake bake sale.  I knew instantly that I wanted to make these because they are truly killer vanilla cupcakes with probably the best white chocolate vanilla buttercream I've ever had. If you are vanila cupcake lover, then this cucpake is definitely the one for you.  
 
Vanilla cupcake recipe adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's white velvet butter cake found in Rose's Heavenly Cakes; white chocolate vanilla buttercream adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction 
 
Makes 16 cupcakes
 



 

Ingredients

 

For the vanilla cupcakes:

  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature (3.2 ounces)
  • 2/3 cup milk (5.6 ounces), divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (7 ounces) cake flour, sifted into cup and leveled
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2-1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened (65° to 75°F)

 

For the white chocolate vanilla buttercream:

  • 6 ounces white chocolate, melted and slightly cooled (use a good quality white chocolate like Callebaut or Ghirardelli)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
 
 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1: For the vanilla cupcakes: Set 16 cupcake liners in cupcakes pans.
 
Step 2: Twenty minutes or more before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
 
Step 3: In a small bowl, whisk the egg whites, 3 tablespoons of the milk, and the vanilla just until lightly combined.
 
Step 4: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds.  Add the butter and the remaining milk and mix 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.
 
Step 5: 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 and strengthen the structure.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Use a number 30 ice cream scoop or a spoon to place the batter into the prepared cupcake liners, smoothing the surfaces evenly with a small metal spatula.  The liners will be about three-quarters full.
 
Step 6: Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a wire cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean and the cupcakes spring back when pressed lightly in the centers.
 
Step 7: 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. 
 
Step 8: For the white chocolate vanilla buttercream: In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed for 1 minute. 
 
Step 9: Starting on low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar until combined. Continue beating for 1 to 2 minutes.
 
Step 10: Add the cooled white chocolate to the creamed butter and sugar. Beat for 2 to 4 minutes on medium speed until combined and creamy. Add the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat for 2 to 4 minutes until combined. 
 
Step 11: Pipe buttercream on each cupcake.
 
 



 

White Velvet Butter Cupcakes with Raspberry or Strawberry Buttercream

Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Rose's Heavenly Cakes

Makes 14 to 16 cupcakes


Ingredients

  •     3 large egg whites, at room temperature (3.2 ounces)
  •     2/3 cup milk (5.6 ounces), divided
  •     1-1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  •     2 cups (7 ounces) cake flour, sifted into cup and leveled
  •     1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
  •     2-1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 tsp baking powder
  •     1/2 teaspoon salt
  •     8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened (65° to 75°F)
  •     1 recipe for Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

 

Instructions


Step 1: Set 15 cupcake liners in cupcakes pans.

Step 2: Twenty minutes or more before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.

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

 

Step 4: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds.  Add the butter and the remaining milk and mix 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.

Step 5: 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 and strengthen the structure.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Use a number 30 ice cream scoop or a spoon to place the batter into the prepared cupcake liners, smoothing the surfaces evenly with a small metal spatula.  The liners will be about three-quarters full.

Step 6: Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a wire cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean and the cupcakes spring back when pressed lightly in the centers.

Step 7: 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. Ice with Raspberry or Strawberry Buttercream Frosting.

White velvet butter cupcakes with raspberry buttercream

     

White velvet butter cupcakes with strawberry buttercream

Woody's Lemon Luxury Cupcakes

Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum Rose's Heavenly Cakes
 
Makes 24 to 26 cupcakes
 

Ingredients

 

For the cupcakes:

  • 6 ounces white chocolate containing cocoa butter, chopped
  • 6 large egg yolks (1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons egg yolks), at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk, divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (10.5 ounces) cake flour, sifted into the cup and leveled off
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (8-1/2 ounces) superfine sugar
  • 4-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
 

For the lemon curd:

  • 3 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 7 large egg yolks (1/2 cup egg yolks), at room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
 

Instructions

 
Step 1: To make the lemon curd: Place lemon zest in a medium bowl and place a fine-mesh strainer over bowl.
 
Step 2: In a saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk yolks, sugar and butter until well-blended. Whisk in lemon juice and salt, stirring constantly with a silicon spatula (and scraping sides of pan) until mixture thickly coats spatula but is still liquid enough to pour; do not allow mixture to come to a boil or it will curdle. Whenever steam appears, remove pan briefly from heat, stirring constantly, to prevent mixture from boiling.
 
Step 3: When curd is thick enough that it will pool quickly when a little is dropped on a surface, pour it through prepared strainer. Stir gently to mix zest into curd and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
 
Step 4: Divide curd into 2 containers: 6 tablespoons for buttercream, the remainder for filling and topping. Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
 
Step 5:  To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and adjust oven rack to lower third of oven. Line 24 cupcake tins with cupcake liners.
 
Step 6: In a microwave oven (or a double boiler over hot but not simmering water), heat white chocolate until almost completely melted. Remove from heat and, with a silicon spatula, stir until fully melted. Allow to cool until no longer warm to the touch but still fluid.
 
Step 7: In a medium bowl, whisk together yolks, 1/3 cup of milk and vanilla extract and reserve.
 
Step 8: In a bowl of a mixer on low speed, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest for 30 seconds. Cake flour (or low protein flour) makes your cake very tender.  For a slightly denser texture, you can use 1-1/2 cups cake flour and 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour.
 
Step 9: Add butter and remaining 2/3 cup milk and mix until dry ingredients are moistened. Increase speed to medium and beat 90 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl.
 
Step 10: Reduce speed to medium-low and gradually add egg mixture to batter in three parts, beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl. 
 
Step 11: Add melted white chocolate and mix until fully incorporated. 
 
Step 12: Divide batter evenly among line cups (fill about 1/2 to 3/4 full).
 
Step 13: Bake until golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes (a wire cake tester inserted in center should come out clean, and tops of cakes should spring back lightly when pressed in centers). 
 
Step 14: Remove from oven and transfer pans to a wire rack for 10 minutes. Cool completely.
 
Step 15: To assemble the cupcakes: When cupcakes are cool, cut an upside down cone shape out of the top of your cupcake. Add you lemon curd filling to a pastry bag and squeeze filling in the cupcake using a plain round pastry tip. Place cone top back on cupcake and frost with lemon buttercream.