Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes Dipped in Dark Chocolate Ganache

Everyone has their own opinions on where is the best place to get a great cupcake here in LA. Some people say Sprinkles, others say Magnolia, maybe Susie Cakes, I could keep listing them but you won’t believe where I’ve found a great cupcake. Recently, I caved when I walked past the dessert section of Trader Joe’s and snuck a 4 pack of these Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with a Peanut Butter Filling into the cart. Normally, I do not participate in store bought cookies, cakes, or any dessert for that matter. I know that I will generally still uphold this rule, but I now have a MAJOR exception for these cupcakes.

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes

Trader Joe’s made the best cupcake that I have had in months. I KNOW. It’s absolutely absurd. Totally insane. You’re probably asking yourself how many drinks I had before tasting this cupcake, but no alcohol was involved.

The problem with so many cupcake shops is that the cake is boring and the frosting is overly sweet to try and balance it out.

These cupcakes are the perfect balance of a great cake and instead of a sugary frosting, it has a dark chocolate ganache instead which is so rich and delicious. Oh, and don’t forget this peanut butter filling which is basically slightly sweetened peanut butter, A.K.A Heaven.

Like the rest of the desserts I see in stores, I said to myself “I have to remake this”, and oh did I.

TNB Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes

There are no more words. This is THE cupcake.

TNB Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled CupcakesI know…

 

Toasted Coconut Vanilla Cupcakes

Sometimes life surprises you. You’re just going about your normal routine, and then adorable 7 year olds completely make your week, and your cupcakes taste infinity times better than you thought they would.

We taught an incredibly sweet group of 2nd graders this week at the beach. Just imagine smiley, super excited but well behaved little munchkins listening to everything you have to say like its just the most incredibly thing they’ve ever heard. If that in itself wasn’t enough to make my week, I may have fallen in love with a 2nd grader. This little boy followed me around, asked me lots of questions about the ocean, invited me over to play with his pet sand crab sometime, and told me that I’m beautiful. I mean seriously? When this kid grows up, he’s going to be such a heartbreaker.

To top it off, two days later we taught another class of 2nd graders, from that same school, and one of the girls came and told me that my little man went back to school and told everyone how pretty I was. Seriously?! I can only hope my future children are as sweet as you, little man.

Now let’s talk about cupcakes. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m not a fan of vanilla cupcakes. And by not a fan, I mean I just plain don’t like them. I’d rather not eat a cupcake at all if it’s going to be vanilla. I’ve tried a few recipes, and I’ve had them from cupcake shops, but they are never as satisfying as chocolate. Team Chocolate!

And frankly, I’m not a huge coconut person either!

So why did I make coconut vanilla cupcakes? I have no idea.

I was thinking about what I wanted to make and for some reason this popped in my head and I couldn’t get it out. I’ve never even had a coconut cupcake! But you know what? These were SO GOOD! How good? I averaged about 2-3 a day for 3 days. I’m half ashamed and half proud about that last statement.

If you’re not a vanilla person, or a coconut person, I think these would change your mind. The cake has vanilla & almond extract in it, as well as some toasted coconut mixed in. So the cake itself is not so much coconut as it is almond/vanilla, but the coconut in the batter adds a nice texture and flavor to it. I toasted the coconut instead of leaving it raw, which I think was a fabulous decision. The tangy but sweet frosting is a cream cheese frosting with vanilla & almond in it to compliment the flavor of the cupcakes, and don’t forget the layer of toasted coconut on top! Mmmmm, yes.

I never thought I would crave a vanilla cupcake…until now. I hope you guys had a week that was as lovely as mine :).

Enjoy,

Madeline

#67 Superbowl/Football Themed Chocolate Cupcakes

I like football, I really do. My problem is that I need someone to say “Hey, lets go watch the Raiders game” otherwise I’m not going to watch it. I make an effort to watch College Football, particularly USC, but I’m not so great at watching the NFL. Maybe it is because I can relate more to College Football, who knows but there is just something less exciting about the NFL to me.

Anyways, even though I’m not a crazy NFL fan, I was born into a Raiders family so that is just who I root for. It’s kind of like being raised a certain religion; I was raised to worship the Raiders and the USC Trojans.

Since the Raider’s didn’t make it to the Superbowl, my second option was to root for another California team to make it. That didn’t happen either. Now it’s between the Giants and the Patriots, and I frankly don’t really like either of them.

Instead of deciding which non-california team I should care about, I made some ridiculously delicious Football Cupcakes that will be festive regardless of which team you may support, yay!

I know I could have done an adorable little grassy patch on top of this cupcake and topped it with a fondant little football or a helmet, but I am not a fan of fondant. Why put something on a delicious cupcake that tastes like crap? I just don’t get it at all. Say no to fondant!

Besides, this is rustic.  Rustic tastes better. Rustic feels better. Rustic sounds better.

This recipe is from the New York famous Magnolia Bakery. They put out a cookbook with their recipes, which I question how true to the real thing they are, but they’re fabulous. The cake itself isn’t very sweet. Yeah, I ate a cupcake without frosting. This frosting is so beautifully silky and chocolatey, I just wanted to slather it on everything. On its own, the frosting is pretty sweet but combined with the cake, it matches up together perfectly.  Then I ate another cupcake with frosting and I’ll probably have another one later on this evening. The life of a sugar addict/food blogger; when eating 3 cupcakes in a 2 hour period is considered acceptable.

How amazing does that batter look?

Don’t have Buttermilk? Neither do I, ever. At my store, the smallest size of buttermilk you can get is too much for me. This is a buttermilk substitute that I have used time and time again and it has yet to fail me. Take 1 cup of milk and add 1 tablespoon of White Vinegar to it and let it set for 5 minutes, then it’s ready to use. Beware, it will be a little chunky, don’t worry.

Enjoy!

Madeline

#65 Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

My childhood was filled with Funfetti cake. You know, that amazingly delicious box cake mix that seems like no one could ever make from scratch. Since I have become involved in the kitchen on a level higher than box mixes, funfetti cake has been the hardest thing to let go.

Recently, I have made two different types of ice cream, Vanilla Ice Cream and Brown Butter Ice Cream. The best home made ice cream has lots of egg yolks in it and both of these recipes that I shared recently use 6 egg yolks. I’m happy to tell you that this cupcake recipe uses 6 egg whites! So go make a pint of Vanilla ice cream and some Funfetti cupcakes – don’t waste those eggs!

How cute are these little cupcake feet!

There cupcakes are pretty much as close are you’re going to get to the mix. Just looking at the pretty little rainbow sprinkles melted into the batter puts a smile on my face. At first I was only going to try a little bite of it, but that was just silly so the whole thing was gobbled up in about mmmm 10 seconds. Seriously, these cupcakes are so tasty and moist (am I the only one that doesn’t like that word?) I almost didn’t put any frosting on top of it. But alas I did. I made a basic Vanilla Buttercream and only put a small amount on top, so that it didn’t overpower the rest of the cake.

Enjoy!

Madeline

#60 Toffee Chocolate Cupcakes

I swear I think I used about 7 lbs of butter the past 2 weeks. It has reached the point where when I am at the store, I cruise by the butter section and just grab an extra pound because hey why not, right?

After Christmas I needed a few days to recuperate after the days of eating dense, chocolate, amazing, delicious desserts. It was just too much! It was like that Groundhog Day movie every morning: afternoon in kitchen, huge dinner, amazing dessert, pat your stomach like you have a chocolate food baby growing in there, sleep, repeat.

Finally after a few days I started to feel withdrawals from not baking, but still not craving anything special. I had to make something for New Years Eve, I knew it would be wrong if I didn’t. I book marked this recipe from Annie’s website a while back, and every time I go through my bookmarked recipes/cookbooks to decide on what I want to make, the picture of these cupcakes makes me drool.

These. Were. So. Good!

I’ve been on a cupcake break recently just because there wasn’t enough texture going on for me, my mouth felt bored…does that make sense? You know what I mean. This cupcake wins in the taste and the texture category.

Details: chocolate cake with espresso undertones in it (amazing), then it is dipped in a ganache and rolled in toffee (I used left over toffee from my English Toffee Recipe but you can use toffee from the store too) and topped with this ridiculous Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Ahhhhh….delicious

The one thing I did change from the recipe on Annie’s site was that I didn’t add the caramel sauce to the frosting. I tried the frosting right before adding the caramel sauce and it was already very sweet on its own and I didn’t want it to be too overwhelming. I think it turned out perfectly this way, but if you want to give the caramel sauce a try go ahead!

Environmental Side Note: I bought these environmentally friendly cupcake liners by If You Care (what a cute name for a company) a month or so back and finally had a chance to try them out! As many of you know, I’m a big supporter of being responsible in taking care of our environment. I understand that we all can’t be perfect and compost everything and be zero waste, but the little things do count!

These cupcake liners are unbleached, biodegradable, and safe for our landfills and compost bins. Even the packaging for the product is made from recycled cardboard, and uses vegetable based inks for the writing.  All in all, its a great product and environment friendly, which makes me very happy, and it does its job for my cupcakes. And hey, I think they’re cute. I’m into really simple stuff, sometimes those cupcake liners are just nuts with designs that just bake away in the oven. Go try them out for yourself 🙂

Happy New Year! 2012, lets do something exciting!

Enjoy,

Madeline

#41 Lamington Cupcakes

When its a baking day, I end up going to the grocery store multiple times that day. It’s embarrassing really. I read through the entire recipe, I make a list, and then I forget the eggs/sugar/something. I of course don’t realize I am missing these things until ingredients are opened and poured already. Tip: I suggest always using the self check out to spare yourself from ultimate embarrasement of going to the same check out guy twice in a 1 hour span of time, multiple times a month…

With that said, I forgot to buy eggs.

These cupcakes are on the front cover of “The Craft of Baking” cook book by Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox and are absolutely delicious. They kind of taste like a cupcake donut, dipped in chocolate, and rolled in toasted coconut. Awesome, I know. I love these cupcakes because they are a little different than the normal cupcake. Aside from the fact that it is steering away from the traditional swirl of luscious frosting on top, the cake itself is a little denser, which gives it more of an old fashion donut taste. They’re delicious, don’t worry.

Toast the coconut first, let it cool, and then smash it up so its in small pieces and not the long strands

Since you will be dipping these in chocolate after they have cooled, there is no need to waste your cupcake liners. Melt some butter and use a brush to butter each pan. Then, dust with flour. The trick with that is to spoon a little flour into each cupcake well and then shake the pan around. You can tap out any excess flour in the sink.

Use a knife to scrape around the edges and flip the cupcakes out of the pan. Don't try and turn the pan over, it wont work the way you imagine it should.

Dipped and Rolled waiting to be eaten

Mini Lamingtons

I hope you enjoy!

Lamington Cupcakes

Printer Friendly Recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 ½ cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp kosher salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup sugar
1 tbs vanilla
¼ vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
½ cup whole milk
4 large egg whites

¼ cup 3 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups confectioners sugar
¼ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp vanilla

Instructions:

Set oven to 300° F.

Spread coconut on baking sheet and put in oven until golden, 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely. After cooled, crumble up the coconut and put into a wide shallow bowl.

Increase oven temp to 350. Butter and flour muffin tins.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, and vanilla bean seeds on medium-high until light and fluffy, 5 mins. Scrape down sides of bowl.

With mixer on medium speed, add milk and flour mix, alternating in 3 additions.

Transfer to another bowl. Clean the bowl to the electric mixer (I know, what a pain), and add the egg whites to it. Whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form, 4 mins. In 3 additions, fold into batter.

Divide batter among muffin cups, ¾ full.

Bake for 20 mins, rotate halfway. Use knife to separate cupcake from tin and flip them out of the pan. Let cool completely

In a medium bowl, sift together the cocoa powder,confectioners sugar, and salt. Add ¼ cup plus 2 tablspoons water and the vanilla. Whisk until smooth.

Dip cupcake into glaze, coating entire cupcake. Immediately roll the cupcake in the toasted coconut. Transfer to a wire rack placed on top of a cookie sheet to catch the drippings.

Enjoy!

 

Madeline

 

#36 Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

I’ve been baking for a few years pretty consistently now. If we’re going to count box mixes and pre-made frosting as “baking” then add a few more years to that, but I think we wont count that since its pretty shameful. With that being said, I realized this week that I have never made vanilla cupcakes from scratch. I’ve made Betty Crocker’s AMAZING Funfetti Cake Box Mix about a million times, but never have I even thought about making it from scratch. I guess my theory is why would you make something without chocolate when there is chocolate? Right? Mmm chocolate…

As much as I love chocolate, I really do love vanilla too! Especially since I have all of these vanilla beans that my sister-in-law gave me. Incase you were not aware, vanilla beans are crazy expensive! I had no idea because I have a bag of about 50 of them in my fridge, but if you go to the store you’ll probably end up spending about 8 dollars for one or two vanilla beans. Eek! There are alternatives such as vanilla bean paste, but I have never used it personally so I wouldn’t be able to tell you how that translates. Stick with the good stuff 😉

 

This buttercream frosting really made the cake.

 

These cupcakes turned out really light and not too sweet really. The frosting is a simple buttercream that I tinted pink with food gel (gel is 100x better than liquid). At first, I ate one and wasn’t very impressed. Then I had another one in the morning and I decided my first impression was wrong. Maybe my problem is that you can eat one, and then instantly forget you ate it because it is light and I am use to my heavy duty chocolate ganache cupcakes.

One of my favorite things about this cake is the little specks of vanilla bean in it. There is something so yummy about seeing those specks.

The vanilla bean seeds through out the cupcake are beautiful

 

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
From Annie’s Eats

Yields aprox 30 cupcakes

Ingredients:

3 cups cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1¼ cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.  Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt.  Whisk together and set aside.  Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the bowl of the mixer with the butter and discard the pod.  Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy in color.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute.

Add the sugar to the butter mixture, ¼ cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition.  Mix in the eggs one at a time until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Combine the buttermilk and the vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds longer.

Divide the batter between the prepared paper liners, filling each about 2/3 of the way full (you will likely have batter left over after filling 24 wells.)  Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Buttercream

Ingredients:
2 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. heavy cream  

Directions:
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds.  Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds.  Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds. Scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds.  Then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.

These cupcakes have a lot of room for creativity with decorating so have fun with it 🙂

Enjoy!

Madeline  

#1 – Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes

And we begin.

I was going to bake something out of one of my cookbooks but the lovely Libby from work showed me this picture and I couldn’t resist. Oreos are my favorite, I had no choice in the matter. After making these I remembered why I never make cheesecake. They turned out yummy but they’re just so temperamental, like little babies.

The recipe is extremely simple. Honestly, anyone can do this just be careful when baking it not to take it out too early or leave it in too long. Like I said, temperamental. When cooking cheesecake, when it’s done it doesn’t look done is the fair assumption. It should look like it has set a little bit, and then the middle should still be a little jiggly. Rest assured, after refrigerating the little guys they’ll be perfect.

You start out by putting an oreo at the bottom of each cupcake liner. Note: If you choose a light colored liner you can see the oreo through the bottom which is kinda cute.

Oreo Cheesecake Cupcake Recipe

Yields about 30 cupcakes

Set Oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit

Ingredients:

– 1 Package of Oreos

– 2 lbs (32 oz) Cream Cheese  (room temperature)

– 1 cup Sugar

– 1 tsp Vanilla extract

– 4 Large Eggs      (room temperature, lightly beaten together in separate bowl)

– 1 cup Sour Cream

– A pinch of salt

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each lined cup.

2. With an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar, and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.

3. Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in chopped cookies by hand.

4. Divide batter evenly among cookie-lined cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until filling is set, about 22-24 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours. Remove from tins just before serving.

(Courtesy of Martha Stewart)

Here it is! The final cupcake (after being refrigerated over night)

Upside Down

Final Cheesecake

Oh goodness I love cream cheese.

 

Enjoy!

Madeline