March has been a busy month, but unfortunately only a couple of resounding successes.
Cherry Cheesecake Cupcake. This had a bottom of a vanilla wafer, which was OK, but honestly I found it weird to have a cookie in the bottom. But the powdered sugar is sure pretty!
This was the unqualified winner of the bunch. Toffee crunch cupcake. It had a chocolate cake base, with toffee pieces mixed in. Then a topping of chocolate gauche that I rolled in more toffee pieces and finally topped it off with caramel Swiss meringue buttercream frosting. Yummy!
Always on the look out for gluten free alternatives this Chocolate Orange Garbanzo bean cake was OK. The chocolate gauche topping really improved it. So I would say it is good for gluten free, but peeling each chickpea might not have been worth it.
The last flavor of the month was Dark Chocolate Brownie with caramel frosting. I found the caramel frosting waxy, I could even mold it with my fingers, so I greatly prefer the caramel Swiss meringue buttercream frosting from above. Also, either I over baked the brownies so they were cakey instead of fudgey or that is the way they are supposed to be. I followed the directions. I have decided that if you are going to eat brownies, then eat a brownie.
Unique flavors so far: 28
Total number of cupcakes: 785
ONLY FOUR MONTHS LEFT OF THE YEAR OF THE CUPCAKE.
This month I challenged myself with making orange curd. The chocolate orange recipe is one of my own devising, using a box cake add zest of two oranges, and substitute water for orange juice. Then make a homemade orange curd and fill the cupcakes (cutting out the middles). Finally, make a chocolate orange cream cheese frosting by using zest of two more oranges. I loved it, and work was complementary, but my husband really, really didn’t like it.
Carrot Cake with White Chocolate Frosting
These were good, and I put in raisins and crushed pineapple, so it is practically a salad!
This has rum in the cake and in the cream cheese frosting. While it wasn’t enough to become boozy, it was enough to really make the vanilla pop, and if I am FORCED into a plan vanilla cupcake, it will probably be this.
Total unique flavors so far: 24
Total cupcakes made: 659
In case you haven’t added this up, but there are 21 unique flavors, and 566 total cupcakes made so far. That is in 6 months, so an average of 3.5 new flavors a month. It is a good time to be my friend!
Chocolate cake with a cheese cake center. I had never heard of this, but with tons of recipes online, it must be a cultural touch stone for some. To me is it like a cross between a cupcake and a cheese cake.
My husband loves butterfingers, so when I found this recipe, I had to make it! It is one of my favorites. It is a peanut butter cake, with butterfinger crumbs in the batter, a chocolate gauche top layer, and a peanut butter butterfinger frosting.
This was nothing compared to the pumpkin ginger, so I won’t be making again. Plus, I didn’t use foil wrappers and I really, really should have. It did have a nice cinnamon clove cream cheese frosting.
Marshmallow Fluff Filled
This cupcake was also a let down. For the first day it was great, but then the marshmallow fluff dissolved away and left an empty cavern in the middle of the cupcake. However, I did make my first chocolate Swiss Meringue buttercream frosting.
Almond Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting
The cupcake was good, but not overly memorable.
This is intentionally gluten free, which means you don’t have substitutions that make it taste funny. This had a piece of chocolate shoved in the middle, and then served warm. It was very tasty.
This is a spicy chili chocolate cupcake with a spicy chili cream cheese frosting. The cream cheese cancelled out the chili, so I would recommend sticking with a traditional buttercream frosting. Also, what does that look like?
It is an apple cake with a cream cheese frosting made into a little nest to hold the apple pie topping- which is delicious.
A cherry almond cake with maraschino cherries in the batter, and a cherry almond Swiss Meringue buttercream frosting. This also, is one that gets talked about.
Chocolate cake with a Nutella filling and chocolate hazelnut cream cheese frosting. Yummy!
This was not a really successful cupcake. The marshmallow dissolves away when it cools after baking and when I switched to marshmallow fluff, that worked for the first day and resembled a ding dong, but it too quickly dissolved away, leaving an empty cavity in the middle of the cupcake.
By now, you might be asking yourself what do I do with all these cupcakes? Fortunately I live in a building where a lot of the cupcakes are eaten, but I also take them into work with me or give them to the school for the teachers. Most people are pretty pleased, even when the cupcakes aren’t the best of the best.
This is another cupcake that gets talked about. People keep bringing this one up and how much they liked it. It also taught me how to make Swiss Meringue Butter Cream frosting. The first batch took me 45 min to cook the syrup, and another 45 min to make the frosting. I have since learned you can cook the syrup in the microwave, cool it, and then make the frosting and it turns out just as good.
This cupcake is yellow cake with homemade salted caramel filling and Swiss Meringue Butter Cream frosting.
These I made for my neighbor Bernie’s first birthday. Mostly because I thought little girl’s first birthday cupcakes should be pink. It is lemon cake with strawberry jam filling and strawberry lemonade Swiss Meringue buttercream frosting. This is where I found out that much jam in a Swiss Meringue makes a weird mouth feel. If I re-make this, I would make a cream cheese frosting base instead.
The Pumpkin Ginger cupcake is another that is talked about. It is a pumpkin cake with crystallized ginger chunks and a cinnamon pumpkin spice cream cheese frosting.
The last one for the month, and yes, if you were counting that is four new flavors, is Triple Chocolate It is chocolate cake with chocolate gauche filling, with a chocolate cream cheese frosting. This is where I learned to make cream cheese frosting chocolate. I think I am in love! I created this recipe on my own as well.
It was in September that I realized my goal of making one flavor of cupcake a month would not be enough. That is when I started to make two, and quickly I have realized I make at least three. The third one comes along sometime mid-month or the month before while I have all other flavors planned out for the rest of the year based on fruit in season, birthdays, and holidays.
Chocolate Mocha Stuffed Cannoli
This is a chocolate mocha cake, with a little bit of cinnamon. The cannoli filling and frosting is on top, and then I used a chocolate ganache drizzle to make it pretty. This recipe is one of my own devising.
Philly Black forest Cheesecake
This recipe I found online and consists of chocolate cake, cheese cake center, cream cheese frosting and cherry pie filling. It was OK, but not that memorable of a cupcake. I can do better with the chocolate/cherry combination.
Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie
This is a cupcake that is remembered and talked about. It is better without the bourbon though, substituting 1/2 cup coffee and 1/2 cup buttermilk. It is a chocolate cake with pecan pie filling and a butter pecan frosting. This cupcake taught me two new skills, which is kind of the point of this whole exercise: pecan pie filling and butter pecan frosting.
For my birthday I decided to make the two flavors that I thought I would love the most. So I made Lemon Raspberry and Chocolate Chip Cookie dough. Then the excitement got hold of me and I also made Cannoli Stuffed cupcakes.
I used a lemon cake box mix, and added zest of two lemons. Then after baking I filled the cupcake with raspberry jam and then made a lemon raspberry whipped cream frosting. To make the frosting shelf stable I added a bit of gelatin (google how to stabilize whipped cream) and it worked great! This frosting can’t be frozen though, so don’t pop these in the freezer.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
For this cupcake I found the recipe online, but it talked about using real cookie dough, which have eggs in it, and as raw eggs are bad for you, all sorts of warnings about consuming raw cookie dough. Since I make a cookie dough truffle, I just used that recipe, making sure it was moist enough to still be moist after baking. I also found a cream cheese cookie dough frosting recipe for a cheese cake that I swapped in for this. So there you go, chocolate cupcakes with cookie dough center and cream cheese chocolate chip cookie dough frosting.
Cannoli Stuffed cupcake
I found this recipe online also. It is OK, but the cannoli frosting isn’t anything special. The recipe I found suggested yellow cake, but in a later version (September) I swapped in chocolate cake and drizzled the ganache instead of making it a lump on top.
Do your cupcakes spread out all over top of the pan and don’t dome? Are they dry?
Here is how to make the perfect, domed, moist cupcake.
- Don’t over mix. Barely mix enough to incorporate the ingredients. Most boxes ask you to mix on medium for 2-3 minutes. This is over mixing the ingredients.
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and bake for 5 min. After 5 minutes, reduce the heat to 350 for the remainder of the time.
- Don’t over bake. If you use the method above, reduce over all time by 2-3 min, and check often. You can always bake something more, but can’t bake something less.
- Don’t want the cupcake to stick to the wrapper? After 2 min, or as fast as you can, remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack. The tin traps in steam and makes your cupcakes stick.
I often get obsessed about making something— the perfect sourdough pizza crust? The best sourdough bread? Bring it on cinnamon raisin swirl. This year, for my 38th year on the planet I am declaring it The Year of the Cupcake. Each month from August to July I will make 2 to 3 different cupcake recipes, some found, some created.
So here come the year of the cupcake posts!