Mar
19
2010
--

Irish Carbomb Cupcakes, An Extra Sweet St. Pat’s Day

Guiness and Bailey Irish Carbomb Cupcakes

Guiness and Bailey Irish Carbomb Cupcakes

Well friends I am thrilled to share with you that not only did I get the corned beef right this year, I also tried a new cupcake recipe that was so yummy I could not believe how easy it was. These cupcakes have Guinness in the cake batter, Bailey’s in the chocolate ganache center and Bailey’s and Kaulua in the frosting. YUM!! To save time you could omit the ganache, but who wants to miss out on that yummy chocolaty center, not me!

Here is the recipe from IrishCentral.com, with a couple of my tweaks. Enjoy!

Ingredients

Serving: 12 cupcakes

1/2 cup stout (Guinness)
1 stick, 8 tbsp., unsalted butter
1/4 plus 1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 plus 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 plus 1/8 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1/3 plus 1/6 cup Greek Yogurt or sour cream

For the Baileys ganache filling:

4 oz. (60-70% cocoa) dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. Baileys Irish cream

For the Baileys butter cream frosting:

1/2 stick, 4 tbsp., unsalted butter, at room temperature
2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2-3 tbsp. Bailey’s Irish cream
2 tbsp Kahlua Liquor

Preparation

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. Combine the stout and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the eggs and Greek yogurt to blend.

Add the stout-butter mixture slowly and beat just to combine. (Allison’s Note: if the stout mixture is still warm you don’t want to cook the egg, so add it in a little at a time) Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed just until incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the ganache filling, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until simmering, then pour it over the chocolate. Let sit for one minute and then whisk until smooth. If the chocolate is not completely melted, place the bowl over a double boiler or give it a very short burst in the microwave (15-20 seconds). Add the butter and Baileys and stir until combined. (Allison’s Note: you can do this step as a double boiler, simply place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over top a small saucepan filled 1/3 full with water, add the cream and heat until chocolate is melted, then add butter and Baileys and stir; remove from heat). Set aside to let the ganache cool until it is thick enough to be piped. (You can use the refrigerator to speed the cooling process, but be sure to stir every 10 minutes or so to ensure even cooling.)

Meanwhile, cut out a portion from the center of the cupcake using the cone method (a small paring knife works best for this). Once the ganache has reached the correct consistency, transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a wide tip and pipe it into the cupcakes. (Allison’s Note: you can also dip the tops of the cupcakes into the ganache just before it cools completely and allow the ganache to harden on the top of the cupcake before piping the frosting)

To make the frosting, place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Gradually add the powdered sugar until it is all incorporated. Mix in the Baileys and Kahlua until smooth. Add more if necessary until the frosting has reached a good consistency for piping or spreading. Frost the cupcakes as desired.

This recipe is from the wonderful food website Annie’s Eats/ IrishCentral.com
Feb
12
2010
1

Hayley’s First Pupcake, Happy 2nd Birthday!

Puppy's First Pupcake!

Puppy's First Pupcake!

Miss Hayley had a very special treat today on her 2nd birthday, she had her first Pupcake.

Pupcakes From Cups La Jolla

Pupcakes From Cups La Jolla

A local cupcake lounge in La Jolla, Cups, offers peanut butter and bacon Pupcakes. Yum! It came in a small plastic bag and it appeared to have a cupcake liner, but it turns out the cupcake liner is edible! Judging by how quickly Hayley gobbled it up I would have to assume they are out of this world delicious!

Happy Birthday Miss Hayley! It seems like only yesterday we brought you home from Helen Woodward Animal Center.

Feb
04
2010
1

A Non-Baker’s Cupcake Quest

Introducing our newest Guest Writer, Genna! Genna is a talented graphic designer, marketer, artist and super-mom. She is also a fellow Flagler College alumni. Despite all of Genna’s amazing gifts, she is admittedly not an avid baker. As you would expect of an artist, she takes greater pleasure in decorating a cupcake than she does in baking one. Nothing wrong with that! I hope you enjoy Genna’s recent adventure in cupcake making, and maybe even take inspiration from her creative cupcake decor. Enjoy!

A Cupcake Quest

baseballcupcakesLast weekend I experienced my annual “Gotta make my husband’s homemade birthday cake” dilema. This request is bestowed upon me and usually includes which specific recipe I am supposed to make. Past years were carrot cake with avocado frosting, tres leches and some other anti-Betty Crocker ideas. This year my husband graciously asked for kid friendly cupcakes since we were going to celebrate at a bowling alley. Phew – it could be worse! I immediately looked to Allison Cafe to see what’s been tested in the kitchen by my friend.

Kid friendly requirements in MY book is: No nuts and lots of sprinkles. I don’t care about quantity of sugar or fat. If it looks cool, they love it. My kid is crazy anyway with or without sugar.

The recipe that seemed to fit the bill was Allison’s “Chocolate Cupcakes with Creamy White Frosting“. What I didn’t like about it was that it asked for things that I didn’t have in my pantry (buttermilk & coconut extract). Did I forget to mention I’m super lazy and dislike cooking in general? In retrospect, I should have just made this recipe because no matter what recipe I picked to make from scratch would seem to me annoyingly difficult and ask for items I’d have to go purchase.

So, I went off to see what Martha Stewart suggested. I love to decorate items, but not to cook them! So after looking at 30 beauty shots of decorated cupcakes – I knew I was going to make baseball cupcakes for my Red Sox fan of a husband. I came to the final conclusion of Red Velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. I noticed on the Food Network website that Paula Deen has the same recipe and did a side by side comparison. They were ALMOST identical with variations of some important chemical combinations such as: baking soda, vinegar and cocoa powder. I regularly watch Alton Brown’s Good Eats Show (a favorite show of my husband’s) and knew that these are very important components that shouldn’t be played with. But I didn’t care. I ended up taking the average of both recipes and figured if these are horrible – well I hate cooking anyway!! With some tips from other cookers in the comments pages, I also took their advice into account. My husband should know better than to make me do this without Betty!

As I was cooking, my first mistake was in making the buttermilk. They didn’t have any in the grocery store, so I was forced to make it myself. Buttermilk can be made at home by combining milk and vinegar (about 1 cup of milk to 1 tsp of vinegar; and don’t forget to set the milk and vinegar aside so they can mix for 5 minutes before adding to batter). I had some fancy Vermont apple vinegar in reaching distance. And I had a gallon of white vinegar upstairs in the laundry room by the bleach. You can only guess which I chose to use. My husband informed me that the white version has more acid which is needed to make the buttermilk. So I sprinkled some in after he went and got it. The mistake I learned, was to not pour liquid in a measuring cup over the item your going to add it to. Because when it spills over you have no idea how much went in! Let that be a lesson for you… By the way, I’m not convinced the apple vs white vinegar made a difference. 😉

In the end, I realized my cooking style is more like Paula Deen’s. She just gives you a list and says mix. She also uses items you can find in the grocery store, but more importantly in the quantities that you can buy it in. I don’t like left-overs of an item which Martha was trying to sell me. Martha was also too nitty gritty about what order to mix things in, and asked for a specific gel-paste food coloring not found easily. I didn’t know I had more of a Southern style of cooking rather than a New England style!

Here are the two links for the recipe’s I mixed:

Martha’s Red Velvet Cupcakes

Paula’s Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

So how did my concoction taste?

Everyone loved them and were impressed I made them from scratch. The Paula Deen frosting was superb. The cake was on the greasy side like reviewers had mentioned. I had even decreased the amount of oil and it didn’t make a big enough difference. But, I was glad I used foil lined paper cups because nobody else noticed the greasy papers!

Good luck to you fellow bakers and non-bakers out there! And don’t take advice from me – take it from Allison.

– Genna Drazen

The talened Genna Drazen

The talented Genna Drazen

Genna Drazen is a talented graphic designer, marketer, artist and super-mom. She is also a fellow Flagler College alumni. Genna resides in Maryland with her beautiful family.

Nov
30
2009
9

Babycakes Frosting Success….Finally!

Babycake NYC Chocolate Cupcake and Chocolate Frosting

Babycakes NYC Chocolate Cupcake and Chocolate Frosting

Babycakes NYC Cookbook (More than just cupcakes!)

Babycakes NYC Cookbook (More than just cupcakes!)

Well after months of experimenting with the recipes from the new Babycakes NYC cookbook, (which by the way would make an excellent holiday gift for any baker in your life) I have finally successfully made the famed frosting! The frosting is gluten-free and vegan, so the only ingredients include soy milk, coconut oil, vanilla and a few other ingredients. It is the most unusual frosting I have ever made. For starters it only involves a blender and refrigeration to make the frosting.

I called this my Goldilocks frosting attempt because the first time I made it, the frosting was too runny. The next time I made it, the frosting was too thick. And the third time I made it, the frosting was just right! If you are new to vegan baking, the ingredients can be hard to find. The first time I made the frosting I could not locate the dry powdered soy milk which the recipe called for, so I substituted powdered goat’s milk. Hence the sub-par results in texture. It tasted good, but it didn’t set up right no matter my efforts to follow Erin‘s tips. I think the goat’s milk must not have the same properties as the soy milk perhaps. I’m not sure, I unfortunately wasn’t into the science of it, I just wanted it to work!

I finally found dry powdered soy milk at Whole Foods, although it was not my first time looking there. I found it in a display by the produce and at a different location than the La Jolla store that I usually frequent. I found it across town, in Hillcrest (San Diego). Anyway, with the excitement of my find at Whole Foods, I hurried home to make the frosting again. This time the frosting was too thick. No matter how long I left it at room temperature, it never became smooth enough to use as frosting. I’m not sure what I did wrong this time, my only guess is that I might not have used the correct measurements. You see, I have a bad habit of loosely measuring items when baking. So I put the soy milk aside and didn’t think about frosting for awhile until I had a birthday in the family and a request for vegan cupcakes. As I started setting the ingredients on the counter I remembered my past lessons. I was obsessive this time about measuring accurately. And guess what? It worked! The frosting turned out just right.

It has a creamy texture and distinct coconut flavor. It does not have butter, but it does use coconut oil so it is not completely fat free. But I like to think it is a healthy version of frosting, or at least a safe option for mixed diets. The best part is that it tastes delicious! A little warning though, you do need to store the frosted cupcakes in the fridge until about 15-20 minutes before you plan to serve them. Otherwise the frosting might melt as it comes to room temperature. That is the only thing that makes this frosting a bit of a challenge. The best plan is to make the frosting the day prior and bake the cupcakes the morning of your event. Allow them to cool completely. And then frost just before serving. This way the cupcake does not become dry from being refrigerated.

P.S.

Babycakes NYC is getting closer to opening their LA location, stay tuned to their blog for updates!

Nov
02
2009
1

Giving Back With Cupcakes (Virtual and Real)

bakeless

I always have my eye out for creative charitable promotions. And since I also have a sweet tooth for cupcakes, this one really got my attention!

What could be better than a delicious cupcake? Cupcakes for charity! And even better, since these cupcakes are imaginary, they have zero calories, no fat and no guilt!

The talented folks over at Operation NICE and Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale have teamed up to create a bakeless bake sale to end child hunger. Take just a moment to visit the “bake sale” today.

gabs_logo_inside

A national campaign that mobilizes Americans to end childhood hunger by holding bake sales in their communities.

Interested in holding your own actual bake sale to support the cause? Good news, it’s easy as 1, 2, 3! Sign-up on their website here, and they will give you all the tools to help you get started. Or simply visit their site to learn more about childhood hunger, their charity, and how you can help.

Written by in: Cupcakes,Giving Back | Tags: , ,
Nov
01
2009
1

Cupcakes Coming Soon to La Jolla

Cups of La Jolla Opening Soon

Cups of La Jolla Opening Soon

It’s finally here, La Jolla’s first cupcake lounge! Yesterday we walked by the Pillage the Village event at Cups, an organic cupcake bakery opening soon on Girard Ave in La Jolla. The Cups crew, all decked out in their Halloween attire, handed out some of the tastist cupcake samples we have ever tried. I can’t wait for them to open soon!

The bakery promises to offer not only tasty treats made from local and sustainable organic ingredients, but they also will serve up other sensory treats like live music in their lounge as well.

Living in the village we have noticed the promotional efforts that the new store owners are putting forth lately. They definitely are doing a good job of creating buzz in the community before the doors officially open. With everything from the free tastings yesterday to recent press and charity events as well, Cups is doing a good job of getting the word out about their new location.

I can’t wait for them to open so I can try more flavors. And they even will offer Pup Cups too, so Hayley can take part in the cupcake fun too!

You can visit them at www.cupslj.com to learn more and to sign-up for their email alerts for news and events.

Oct
23
2009
1

Nostalgia and Cupcakes

Cupcakes at the Beach

Cupcakes at the Beach

We recently returned from an amazing trip down memory lane in our nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine. St. Augustine is special to me for so many reasons, the most important being that it is where I met my husband 14 years ago. It also is where I have so many other happy memories as well, it is where I went to college and spent a lot of time with my grandparents.

Flagler College

Flagler College

Flagler College

Flagler College

Upon walking onto the Flagler College campus, I was instantly transported back in time to my college days, everything was the same, even the smells wafting from the college’s dining hall. Of course not everything on the trip was a walk through the past, this trip had some new surprises as well.

Knowing my love of cupcakes, you can imagine my excitement to stumble upon the city’s first cupcake bakery. Of course my friend Laura and I just had to pull the car over immediately and check out the fresh little delicious works of art at Luli’s Cupcakes. luli-color_1_(thank you Laura for being a cupcake lover like me!) Started by Flagler graduates and named after their kids, Luke and Lili, the cupcake bakery is as adorable as the cupcakes are delicious. We sampled the Simply Vanilla, Chocoholic, Fire Engine Red Velvet and the PB & C. All were moist and full of flavor. My favorite hands down was the PB & C, which had a yummy peanut butter frosting and moist, rich chocolate cake.

PB & C Cupcakes from Luli's

PB & C Cupcakes from Luli's

St. Augustine is a charming town with roots deep in Spanish, Minorcan, British and Greek culture. The city is rich with local small businesses, there are few if any at all, commercial chain restaurants or shops. That was always one of my favorite things about the city, its entrepreneurial makeup. Of course in this current economy a city so reliant on tourism is hurting a little, but the charm of the city was just the same as I had remembered.

And I must also share that love was definitely in the air this visit to St. Augustine. My husband and I attended the wedding of some close friends, which was an amazingly beautiful event. And it could not have been a more perfect celebration for our 1 year wedding anniversary. We danced the night away and remembered fondly our own wedding just one year ago. Congratulations Katie and Kyle, we are so happy to have celebrated with you!

Congrats Katie and Kyle!

Congrats Katie and Kyle!

Oct
19
2009
1

Adventures in Vegan Baking Part 2: Vegan and Halloween Inspired Pumpkin Coconut Cupcakes

Pumpkin Cupcakes Topped with Coconut Flakes and Peep Ghosts

Pumpkin Cupcakes Topped with Coconut Flakes and Peep Ghosts

When I first ventured into vegan baking earlier this year, it was completely by chance. I attended book signing at a local bookstore for the new cookbook Babycakes by famed vegan bakery owner, Erin McKenna. The event originally caught my attention because it was related to 2 of my passions, baking and cupcakes.

Babycakes NYC

Babycakes NYC

As I learned more about the cookbook and Erin’s bakery, I realized just how extraordinary they both were. Erin gave to many people, young and old alike, something that they could not have experienced before. A cupcake. Having grown up with food allergies, many kids like Erin were not able to eat products containing gluten. After many attempts in her New York apartment, Erin created a delicious version of a gluten free and vegan cupcake. And not only has she shared her cupcakes with the world from her unique New York bakery, she also recently released her first cookbook.

The exciting thing about gluten-free and vegan baking, is that it can also carry added health benefits for the rest of us without food allergies as well. I myself am fortunate to not have any food allergies, that I know of anyway. But I was completely intrigued and inspired by the idea of creating a healthier version of a cupcake. Not just to satisfy my own sweet tooth, but in case I ever needed to whip up a gluten-free or vegan treat for family or guests.

Never having been exposed to the world of vegan baking before I carried what I later realized was an unfair assumption about the stuff. That it doesn’t taste as good. Wow, was I wrong. Vegan baked goods can sometimes taste even better then the buttery, non-vegan versions. Especially if you enjoy coconut flavors, since coconut oil is an excellent ingredient for vegan baking both for its flavor and healthy fats.

Healthy Ingredients

Healthy Ingredients

What I did not realize about vegan baking, again never having been exposed to it before, was that it is a much more delicate art than the regular baking I had done in the past. The ingredients can be hard to find, and sometimes ridiculously expensive. The recipes can be frustrating to follow and leave you wondering if you are baking or trying to study the science and chemical equations of the process. But once you come to terms with all those things, the challenges of vegan baking are heavily outweighed by the benefits.

Erin’s book was my original inspiration and it has given me the confidence to strike out on my own and start varying some of my favorite recipes to make them more healthy. Since I am fortunate to lead a life without any allergies, I can still incorporate the occasional dairy into my recipes, but I have been able to cut out fats and/or replace them with healthier ones thanks to my new vegan education. I never knew baked goods without butter and eggs could taste so good, and be a healthier treat.

Decorating with Peeps and Candy Corn, easy and cute!

Decorating with Peeps and Candy Corn, easy and cute!

Click “more” to see the recipe and Vegan baking tips (more…)

Jun
25
2009
1

Dry Powdered Soy Milk at Whole Foods

Dry Powdered Soy Milk

Dry Powdered Soy Milk

At last, I have found it some where other than in my Amazon store!  I never would have thought that walking through Whole Foods in Hillcrest, San Diego would yield pure excitement as I walked down the soy milk aisle.  I wasn’t even looking for it, I was inadvertently walking down that aisle, when all of a sudden I saw it, Better Than Milk, dry powdered soy milk.  So of course I bought some and I am going to attempt the frosting from the Babycakes cookbook once again, hopefully with a better result in the consistency of the frosting this time equipped with the recommended ingredients!

Jun
03
2009
1

An Education In Vegan Baking

cookbookcover-smallRecently I attended the book signing for Babycakes, a vegan and mostly gluten free baking cookbook by Erin McKenna. Enticed by the prospect of enjoying sweets with natural sweeteners and healthy ingredients, I made my first of several trips to Henry’s Market, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. As I walked the aisles seeking new ingredients, such as garbanzo-fava bean flour and coconut oil, I felt like I was entering a whole new world. I had never even thought to use these items in my baking before. Fortunately, I myself do not have any food allergies, that I know if anyway, that have forced me to experiment with gluten free baking. However, after learning about the many health benefits of coconut oil, flaxmeal, soy and natural sweeteners like agave nectar and evaporated cane juice, I was inspired to take my love for sweets to a healthier, and hopefully tastier, level.

I decided to start off by (more…)

Powered by WordPress | Theme: Aeros 2.0 by TheBuckmaker.com