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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Green Tea Cupcakes

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Green tea cupcakes really hit home for me. Not only do I love anything green tea because it is good for the healt, green tea cupcakes were the first cupcakes that I ever made from scratch in March 2012. It’s really something to compare photos from then to now and to see how much I have improved.

This time when I made them, I had the company of my cousin Anna and used some stolen borrowed matcha powder from my sister. Baking alone, for me, is usually a stress-reducing activity (until I realize I have a dozen cupcakes for myself–then it becomes stress-inducing!), but it’s also great to bake with family or with friends.

Matcha powder, as expensive as it is, is such a beautiful powder. It is so fragrant and has a beautiful rich green color–no food coloring was used in the frosting! With the green color, it is also fun to make grass and other patterns. We made both chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with green tea frosting with a surprise inside. I’m usually partial to desserts with chocolate, but both the vanilla and chocolate cupcakes were delicious, so I’d recommend you make both!

Xo,
JJC

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Recipe

Vanilla Cake, yield 8
3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup of buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 cup of butter, room temperature
1/2 cup of sugar
1 egg

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, 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. Fill 16 cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
7. Bake at 325F for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Green Tea Frosting
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup matcha powder
1 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

1. Whip the butter until it is light and fluffy.
2. Mix in the liquids, matcha powder, and confectioner’s sugar until it is at a desired consistency.DSC_1707

Banana and Chocolate Cupcakes

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This summer has basically been a summer of working and baking cupcakes. I don’t mind. It’s extremely relaxing and pretty great. This weekend I made banana cupcakes with a chocolate frosting. I made these cupcakes nearly a year ago, and these look a lot prettier. The bananas I used overly ripe, making the cupcakes nice and moist and light with a delicious banana taste. The cake could have stood on its own, but the dark chocolate frosting made the overall cupcake a taste from heaven.

Xo,
JJC

Recipe
Cake, yield 16
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa 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 mashed bananas into the mixture.
7. Fill 16 cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
8. Bake at 325F for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Chocolate Frosting
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons milk with 2 cornstarch mixed in
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar

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

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Reese’s Peanut Butter Cupcakes

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Sometimes you just have the urge to make cupcakes (okay, maybe just me) but don’t want too many. This is one of those cupcakes that I wish I had made more than I actually did. Even though it was a simple chocolate cake, the interior was nice and moist and fluffy. As always, I had a surprise of frosting inside the cake, which give the cake a delicious balance of peanut butter and chocolate.

Xo,
JJC

Recipe
Cake, Yields 16
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (1 stick)
2 eggs

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and chocolate powder.
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. Fill 16 cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
7. Bake at 325F for about 20 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
1/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
~1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

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Tequila Sunrise Cupcakes

Tequila Sunrise Cupcakes
June 16, 2013
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This weekend, I realized that a mixer was the greatest investment I made in baking this month, and I cannot believe that I didn’t purchase one earlier. Even a cheap Hamilton Beach 6-speed hand mixer saved me so much time and energy. This tequila sunrise cupcake was so delicious and moist. While mixing the ingredients, it didn’t look so tasty, as the acidity and the milk mixed together and appeared to curdle. But after baking for 20 minutes, it tasted mostly like orange with a sweet, but not too sweet, hint of the grenadine.

In addition frosting was so delicious that I wish I could share how it was. There was a bit of everything, and not one flavor was overpowering. All I have to say is that it needs to be remade and added in all cupcakes (including the surprise inside the cupcakes).

Overall, this cupcake was so delicious. It tastes even better when you have it with a tequila sunrise cocktail with it! Enjoy!

Xo,
JJC

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Recipe
Cake, yield 16
– 1/4 cup orange juice
– 1/2 cup buttermilk
– 2 tablespoons tequila
– 1 tablespoon grenadine
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
– 1 cup sugar
– 2 eggs
– 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
– 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and orange zest.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, orange juice, tequila, grenadine, 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. Fill 16 cupcake liners about 2/3 full.
7. Bake at 325F for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
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Frosting
– 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
– 1 tablespoon milk with 2 tablespoons of dissolved cornstarch
– 2 teaspoons tequila
– 1 tablespoon grenadine
– 2 tablespoon lime juice
– 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

Whip the butter until it is light and fluffy. Then add the liquids and the confectioner’s sugar until it is at a desired consistency.

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Coconut and Lime Cupcakes

Coconut and Lime Cupcakes
June 8, 2013

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My sister’s birthday is coming up. And now that my family has realized that I can actually bake desserts, they have commissioned me to make a cake, even though I don’t bake cakes. So I took a recipe for the cupcakes I normally made and poured it into a cake pan. I would say that it was a success.

For this recipe, I adapted a normal vanilla cake and the mojito cupcake recipe to create what I thought would be something light and tasty. The cake was fluffy and had a sweet coconut flavor and a kick of lime. To make it even better, I might replace the buttermilk with coconut milk. Since this was also to be a cake for my sister’s birthday, I doubled the amount I normally make. There was enough batter to make 8 cupcakes and a 9 inch cake.

Between making the batter, baking, cooling, and decorating, these cakes and cupcakes took up the entire afternoon. But it was totally worth it. The cake was delicious and makes for a nice summery treat.

Finally, HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAMMY!

Xo,
JJC

Recipe
Cake, yield 1 9-inch cake+8 cupcakes

DSC_15952 sticks unsalted butter
2 cup of granulated sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 ½ cup shredded baker’s coconut
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lime zest

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and lime zest.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, lime juice, 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. Fill 8 cupcake liners about 2/3 full and pour the rest of the batter into a cake pan.
7. Bake at 325 until each is golden brown. The cupcakes took about 20 minutes, while the cake took about 45 minutes.

Frosting
DSC_1597– 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
– 4 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved 3 tablespoons of warm milk
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 3 tablespoons lime juice
~ 4 cups of confectioner’s sugar

Whip the butter until it is light and fluffy. Then add the liquids and the confectioner’s sugar until it is at a desired consistency.

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Piña Colada Cupcakes

Piña Colada Cupcakes
May 10, 2013

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Happy summer vacation and happy packing up the dorm! I wasn’t originally planning on baking more before heading back home to Massachusetts for the summer, but there were too many baking supplies left over in the kitchen to let go to waste (#JenProblems). So using the ingredients I had left over and a can of pineapple juice, we make piña coladas! As a fan of piña coladas, I enjoyed this cupcake. The only two changes I would probably make would be to replace the baking soda with more baking powder so that it gives the cake a light, tropical feel. The second is the garnish; instead of the leftover baker’s coconut, cute pineapples chunks, little umbrellas, or maraschino cherries would be nice additions, but we’re operating on a student’s budget here, so shredded coconut it is. Overall, it was pretty yummy. It’s even more delicious when you throw in a homemade piña colada with your cupcake!

Recipe
Cake, yield 12
– 1/3 cup Bacardi white rum
– 3/4 coconut milk with vanilla
– 1/4 cup pineapple juice (canned, from Trader Joe’s)
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
– 1 1/4 cups of granulated sugar
– 3 large eggs
– 1 cup of shredded baker’s coconut

1. In a small bowl, combine rum, coconut milk, pineapple juice, and vanilla. Set aside.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and vanilla. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. It should be a pale, consistent mixture.
4. Add the eggs to the mixture one at a time.
5. Add the flour mixture and liquids, beating well after each addition.
6. Fold in the coconut.
7. Fill the cupcakes liners to about 2/3 full.
8. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes or until a golden brown color.

Frosting
– 3/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
– 1 1/2 tablespoons white rum
– 1 1/2 tablespoons pineapple juice
– 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut milk
– ~ 2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

Whip the butter until it is light and fluffy. Add the liquid ingredients and mix carefully. Slowly add the confectioner’s sugar until the mixture is solid. Add flour/sugar accordingly until the frosting is a desired consistency.photo-1