Vanilla Glazed Donut Holes

Glazed Vanilla Donut Holes

And we’re back! Well, kind of. Today’s post, and the first of 2015, sorry I’ve been slackin’, is not of cupcakes, but of glazed donut holes! Why, you may ask? I recently got Rachael Ray’s mini muffin tray and have been obsessed with making all things mini. Plus, they’re adorable. I also have been craving donuts since having an embarrassingly long conversation about donuts. Side note: thanks Massachusetts for having a Dunkin’ Donuts on every corner to satisfy the desire for donut. I’ve eaten too many in the past week. This is the real reason why I run. Anyway, I digress…

Since I’ve never made donuts/donut holes before, I took a recipe from the Interwebs. But of course, by “took,” I really mean that I started with one and then changed it until it a bit. This recipe is pretty easy to make and is great for if you are hosting people. Bite-sized sweet treats? What could be better?

Now a few tips for making donut holes. ie: the lessons learned:
– The batter is pretty thick and sticky when you try to scoop them into the muffin tin. Try to roll the batter into balls so the donuts actually are round.
– Start making the glaze with 5 minutes left of baking. This allows the glaze to thicken but also remain liquid when you dip the cake.
– Definitely use tongs (or in my case chopsticks) when dipping the cake into the glaze. It’s hot.
– Other tips? Feel free to share! I promise also for more cupcakes in the near future! Yum!

Happy baking!
— JJC

RECIPE

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Cake

⅓ cup (5 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray mini muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream 1/3 cup butter and granulated sugar together on medium speed. Mix in the egg, vanilla extract, and milk. Gently stir in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt by hand. DO NOT overmix, or the donuts will be too dense.
3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin – about 2/3 of the way full (It helps if you use two spoons to shape the into balls)
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 400F.

With about 5 minutes left, start the vanilla glaze.

Vanilla Glaze

VANILLA GLAZE

2 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners sugar

1. Add milk, vanilla and confectioners sugar to a small saucepan
2. Heat over low-medium heat, constantly stir just until all is well combined.
3. Dip the doughnuts into the glaze, one at a time and transfer to cooling rack.

Glazed Donut Holes

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Hard Cider Cupcakes

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Would you believe it? It’s Thanksgiving weekend and almost December. I can’t believe how the year had gone by so quickly. Given the time of year, it’s prefect for the cupcake of the week: hard cider cupcakes! So what exactly do I mean, you might ask? This cupcake is an apple cider cupcake with a cinnamon whiskey buttercream. And yes, it’s as good as it sounds.

There of course is a back story behind each cupcake I make. For this one, I need to thank Janie and Denise for the idea and also sharing the Buzzfeed post about cupcakes that “will get you drunk.” After doing the math, unless you want/can eat at a minimum 30 cupcakes, there is no possible way to get drunk off these cupcakes. Nonetheless, these were really fun to make and scrumptious desserts at Thanksgiving dinner yesterday.

I based the recipe off one of the Buzzfeed recipes but ended up adding a lot more spices and ingredients to make the cake flavorful and fluffy. In the cake, I also used spiced apple cider from Trader Joe’s rather than traditional apple cider, which I imagine would be just as delicious.

While I normally am not a fan of frosting, this cinnamon whiskey buttercream was really delicious. The whiskey provided a nice kick to the sweet cinnamon vanilla. I ended up adding a dash of salt as well to “cut” the strength of the whiskey.

Overall, the cupcake was delicious and a hit at Thanksgiving, and I loved pairing it with some hot apple cider as well. Enjoy!

Xoxo,
JJC

Recipe
Cake, yield 15
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple cider
1/4 cup sour cream

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk and vanilla extract.
3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add the eggs to the mixture one at a time.
5. Add the flour mixture and the liquids alternately, beating well after each addition.
6. Fold in the apple cider and sour cream.
7. Fill 15 cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
8. Bake at 325F for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Frosting
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon whiskey (optional)
2 cups powdered sugar

1. Whip the butter until it is light and fluffy.
2. Mix in the liquids, cinnamon, and confectioner’s sugar until it is at a desired consistency.DSC_0516

Apple Cupcake with Maple Peanut Butter Frosting

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This week it finally begins to feel like autumn. I think it was the first time I actually felt cold this October. But what better thing is there to do other than stay inside bake some goodies and drink hot apple cider? I contend, again, that autumn is the most delicious season of all–and it finally feels like it.

This week I wasn’t exactly sure what type of cupcakes to make and started to troll Pinterest (where else?) and found a nice recipe for apple maple cupcakes. The cake was a delicious and easy to make. After the pumpkin cupcake incident, I was wary of putting too much apple in. However, by using two medium sized Macintosh apples from Trader Joe’s, the apple provided a nice moisture to the overall cake. I liked this cake because it wasn’t too sweet, as the maple (with peanut butter) frosting was a bit on the sweeter side.

Honestly, I had a bit of trouble with the maple frosting. When you make a buttercream, you add confectioner’s sugar to thicken the frosting. But when you add maple syrup on top of the normal amount of sugar, you may end up having to schedule a visit to the dentist’s office. While I knew that, I still put too much maple syrup in the frosting, making the butter a strange sticky concoction. It looked as if the frosting would fall off, but the maple syrup acted like glue. To thicken it without putting too much sugar, I dropped in a glob of peanut butter. The peanut butter immediately thickened the mixture and added a slight savory flavor to the sweet frosting.

Ultimately, the cake and the frosting were really delicious and basically have been getting me through midterm season. If you are not currently considering moving your bed to a library, then I’m sure that these are best enjoyed along some simmering mulled wine or spiced apple cider while relaxing on comfy couches.

Enjoy!
JJC

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Recipe
Cake, yield 16
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 cups shredded apples (I used Macintosh apples)

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk and vanilla extract.
3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add the eggs to the mixture one at a time.
5. Add the flour mixture and the liquids alternately, beating well after each addition.
6. Fold in the apples.
7. Fill 16 cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
8. Bake at 350F for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Frosting
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter

1. Whip the butter until it is light and fluffy.
2. Mix in the liquids, peanut butter, and confectioner’s sugar until it is at a desired consistency.DSC_0450

Pumpkin Chocolate Cupcakes

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Not only is it AT&T’s recent advertising slogan, it’s also generally human nature to think that “more is better.” However, that is not always the case when it comes to baking. Last week I thought that it would be nice to make pumpkin chocolate cupcakes to celebrate autumn, the most delicious season of all. I took a Martha Stewart and tried to half the recipe adapt it to what I normally make. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that my recipe would only call for half the can of pumpkin puree, instead of the entire can. So, I dumped the entire can in.

The issue with adding too much pumpkin is that it is a very dense food that sinks to the bottom of the cupcake. While the cake looked ready after 17 minutes from the top and passed the toothpick rule, there was uncooked pumpkin chilling (pun intended) at the bottom of the lining. When I took the trays out, the cake almost immediately sunk and turned into a crater:

Attempt 1: don't add too much pumpkin. But when all else fails, grab a pumpkin ale.

Attempt 1: don’t add too much pumpkin. But when all else fails, grab a pumpkin ale.

In an effort to save the cupcakes, I ended up putting them back into the oven, which you’re really not supposed to do, for another 5 minutes. This resulted in a chewy pumpkin cake, but at least it was cooked. The only good thing that came out of it was the pumpkin ale (so good!), and the overall flavor of the cupcake was still good.

Feeling unsuccessful, I tried to make the same pumpkin cupcakes the following week. This time, I reduced the amount of pumpkin in the batter and kept a watchful eye on the oven to ensure that the cakes were fully cooked before taking them out of the oven. I also added a little more cinnamon and nutmeg in the cake to enhance the pumpkin flavor. Finally, I changed the frosting recipe to include a bit of coffee to give it a nice dark chocolate flavor.

Once the cakes cooled and the dark chocolate frosting was applied, it sure tasted like a biting into autumn bliss. In the end, I really enjoyed this cupcake and now am stocking up on pumpkin puree. It’s the best when enjoyed with a cup of warm spiced apple cider (preferably farm fresh, but the one from Trader Joe’s isn’t bad either). Or, if you’re stuck in midterm season, these pumpkin cupcakes will make any trip to the library just a bit better.

Xo,
JJC

Recipe
Cake, yield 18
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 can (8 ounces) pumpkin puree
1/4 cup sour cream

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk and vanilla extract.
3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add the eggs to the mixture one at a time.
5. Add the flour mixture and the liquids alternately, beating well after each addition.
6. Blend in the pumpkin puree and the sour cream.
7. Fill 24 cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
8. Bake at 350F for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Frosting
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup milk with 2 tablespoons of dissolved cornstarch
1 tablespoon coffee
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
~3 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Whip the butter until it is light and fluffy.
2. Mix in the liquids, the cocoa powder and confectioner’s sugar until it is at a desired consistency.DSC_0425

German Chocolate Cupcakes

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For breakfast this morning, I offered my roommate a German chocolate cupcake. When she initially declined, I told her that it covers all food groups–you have your carbs, proteins, and even nuts! It’s like a Cliff bar but even tastier. Who knew cupcakes could be such a hearty breakfast food?

Until yesterday, I never made or had even tasted what German chocolate cakes/cupcakes were and was pleasantly surprised at the outcome. I decided to try making German chocolate cupcakes after a friend suggested that I make them (speaking of which, if you have any suggestions or requests, send them my way!). I thought it would be a relaxing idea to make them on a Friday night after a long week and then snap chat the process to him. But then I forgot that it was Yom Kippur…

Anyway, onto the actual cupcake. I loved the recipe that I adapted from FoodNetwork. The chocolate cake with the sour cream made the cake so moist and fluffy. Then the large amount of cocoa powder and coffee made the cake more of a dark chocolate cake, which complemented the frosting very nicely.

The frosting itself was so great. While making it, I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t hold together, since it was so liquid-y and looked a bit curdled when it was simmering on the stove. I ended up keeping the mixture on the stove for about twenty minutes. You cannot cut down this process, otherwise the mixture will not hold! I was also worried that I didn’t have the proper ingredients. Whole Foods is a great supermarket for organic, non-GMO (things-that-don’t-involve-fine-print-etc.-etc.-type-of-foods) ingredients, but sometimes you just want normal shredded sweetened coconut. I ended getting unsweetened organic coconut flakes, which, I might add, taste disgusting if you eat them plain. I chopped them up before adding them to the mixture, and I even added about one cup of confectioner’s sugar to make (a): make a healthy product unhealthy, but more importantly (b): to make the mixture sticky.

Overall, I really enjoyed this recipe. The smooth chocolate cake complemented the crunchy frosting nicely. As I did have a bit extra frosting near the end, I added a surprise in the middle of the cakes. Hint: the surprise is more frosting! I highly recommend German chocolate cupcake recipe!

Xo,
JJC

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Recipe

Cake, Yield 24

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Ingredients
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup freshly brewed coffee
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 eggs, room temperature

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, sour cream, vanilla extract, and coffee.
3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add the eggs to the mixture one at a time.
5. Add the flour mixture and the liquids alternately, beating well after each addition.
6. Fill 24 cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
7. Bake at 350F for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Frosting
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1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
4 extra-large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
2 cups unsweetened flaked or shredded coconut
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat
2. Whisk in the evaporated milk, brown sugar, and egg yolks
3. Simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk
–> Do not let your eggs yolks cook or let your mixture begin to look curdled
4. Take off the heat, and fold in the vanilla extract, almond extract, coconut, pecans, salt, and confectioner’s sugar.
5. Allow the mixture to cool, frost the cupcakes using a spoon or knife then enjoy!DSC_0335

Raspberry and Lemon Cupcakes

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It has been quite awhile since my last blog post! In the month since the minions cupcake, I have been traveling and also moved to a new apartment in Washington DC. I really like this new apartment, and my three roommates are awesome! We all love cooking and baking and somehow brought all of our kitchen appliances and supplies. The best when making cupcakes is having four sets of measuring cups, two different hand mixers, and six large mixing bowls. Excessive? Maybe, but I’m not complaining.

This recipe I tried because a friend suggested it. In the past I made lemon cupcakes with a raspberry filling, but these are the reverse of them. I loved the light fruity taste of the raspberry cake was even better than the lemon cake, and the seeds of the raspberries give a nice crunch to it. The frosting I made had a light sweet and sour lemon flavoring, which complimented the raspberry cake nicely.

Xo,
JJC

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Recipe

Cake, Yield 24
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (1 stick)
2 eggs
1 cup raspberry preserves (or mashed fresh raspberries)

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk and vanilla extract.
3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add the eggs to the mixture one at a time.
5. Add the flour mixture and the liquids alternately, beating well after each addition.
6. Fold in the raspberry preserves, and continue to mix
7. Fill 24 cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
8. Bake at 325F for about 22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Frosting
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup milk with 2 tablespoons of dissolved cornstarch
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
~3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

1. Whip the butter until it is light and fluffy.
2. Mix in the liquids and the confectioner’s sugar until it is at a desired consistency.

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Minion Cupcakes

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In making these minion cupcakes, I broke one of my cardinal rules of baking and used a boatload of artificial coloring. But come on, the minions from Despicable Me are just too adorable. I recently saw Despicable Me 2 in theaters. It wasn’t necessarily the best story (the plot of the first Despicable Me was better). However, the minions made the movie worth watching a second time. That is enough about the movies; this is a cupcake blog, not a movie review site.

The cupcakes I made this time included a chocolate cake with a vanilla buttercream frosting. I have not ventured to the world of gum paste, which makes for more cakes with a more professional-looking design. I may soon, but the summer is, believe it or not, almost over (side note: where did this summer go?). Anyway, I used a buttercream frosting and added food coloring to it. For the yellow and blue colors, I added about 7 drops of food coloring. I bought a black gel frosting pen for the black straps on the minions’ goggles and for their smiles. I also used the black to mix it with the normal white buttercream to make the grey goggles. Considering I didn’t have enough frosting bags, I think I did a pretty good job with the makeshift bags made of Ziploc bags cut at the corner. It worked pretty well, since you need to create a flat surface for the yellow. For about 16 cupcakes, I would recommend that you use 3/4 (1 1/2 sticks) of unsalted butter.

The entire process from mixing the batter to the end of frosting took nearly three hours. It was definitely worth it. The chocolate cake is nice and moist and almost melts in your mouth. Plus you have to feel happy when you see the minions. AND the cupcakes are smiling at you. Next on my list of cupcakes to bake are the evil purple minions!

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Xo,
JJC

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