Saturday, November 05, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

For my husband's bowling league, I was asked to make Peanut Butter & Jelly cupcakes. I have made these once before, however my husband asked that I don't do the glaze, but instead frost it with frosting. I decided to do a peanut butter and jelly swirl frosting. I was picturing the frosting being brighter and more vibrant, but I think they look great! My husband asks that next time I add more peanut butter to the batter, as he could barely taste it. Instead of adding the jelly to the unbaked batter, I cooked the peanut butter batter by itself. Then I cored the cupcakes and stuffed the hole with jelly, using 1/2-3/4 C strawberry jelly overall. I put the jelly in a pastry bag and squeezed the jelly into the holes. It was a lot less messy that way! Then I topped the cupcakes with the frosting. The original cupcake recipe can be found here. The two different frostings were easy, based off my original frosting recipe. Some of the guys at the bowling alley changed their favorite cupcake from Pumpkin Ginger to this one! I was very surprised!!

This is the cute box!
I met some new people over the weekend at a Halloween party. One of whom, Hilary, was so intrigued by my cupcakes that she said she would stop by the bowling alley on Thursday to try some of my cupcakes and get some business cards. Silly me, at the Halloween party, I didn't have any business cards! I packaged up some cupcakes in a cute box for Hilary and topped it with some business cards. At the party, she had said she knows people who would probably order from me!

Here you can see the jelly filled center.
These are the cored, unfilled cupcakes!
These are the cores from the Peanut Butter Cupcakes!
These are the cored and jelly filled cupcakes!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Black Russian Cupcakes with Kahlua Frosting

One of the bowlers from a different team in my husband's league asked if I could make a dozen cupcakes for his birthday. He said he would pay for them, of course. I asked what he would like, and he said to surprise him. He had given me a short list of some of his favorite flavors a week prior, so I set to work and find a recipe that would work with what he likes. I found a Black Russian cupcake recipe here, and changed just a few things. The recipe was rather easy, and depending on how it tastes, may become a fan favorite. Since this recipe makes 2 dozen cupcakes, I cut everything in half. When I have an order from customers, I buy a cake box to put them in so that the customer can take the cupcakes home. I decided to get creative and cut four little slits in the top of the box to hold my business card! I think it looks great, and a great way of branding my cupcakes!

* I do not own a coffee pot or coffee grounds, so I use instant coffee for my baking recipes. For the frosting, I do not use 3 tbsp coffee, but instead mixed the Kahlua with 1 1/2-2 tsp instant coffee and disolve as much of the instant coffee as you can. This method will get the coffee flavor without making the frosting too liquid.

Deep Chocolate Cupcakes - Shipped!

I had a lot of Raspberry Frosting left over, so I decided to try to ship cupcakes to my family back in California. I made a dozen Deep Chocolate Cupcakes without wrappers. When the cupcakes were cooled, I cut them in half horizontally and layered the cupcake halves and frosting in a tall Mason Jar. I looked up shipping costs and UPS, FedEx, and DHL were all way too expensive. I went with USPS for $10.50: 2-3 day Priority Mail. I shipped the cupcakes on Saturday, my mom received them on Monday. The cupcakes needed to be refrigerated once received, just to solidify the frosting again. I sent a total of 6 jars to my mom, and she gave some to my sister and my mother-in-law. Everyone was really excited to get some of my cupcakes since they haven't had them in 4 months. The cupcakes were very moist, but the frosting was rather tart. I assume that the raspberries got sweeter and sweeter the longer they stayed in the frosting. The layers stayed together, no major shifting. I will definitely be doing this again in the future! I might even use smaller Mason Jars for individual cupcakes, since the tall jars hold 2 cupcakes each.

On Sunday, I had an order for a dozen Red Velvet cupcakes. Such a great recipe and a very photogenic cupcake!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Deep Chocolate Cupcake with Raspberry Frosting

I was debating what cupcakes to make for my husband's bowling team (properly named Cupcake Massacre) and was talking with some friends about recipes. I wanted to do something new. I haven't done a new recipe in a while, and the fall/winter season is a great time to add spices to cupcakes and work on different frosting flavors. My friend, PaTrice, suggested a cupcake recipe found here and the frosting recipe found here. After looking through my pantry and the recipes, I had to alter the recipes slightly. The cupcakes came out very complex, but rather tasty (or so I was told). I topped them with my own raspberry frosting and Halloween Peeps for the Halloween season.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Homemade Butter!

Butter. It's one of those magical foods that's tastes so good you can forgive and forget the few extra calories it adds (okay, many - who's counting anyways?). There's nothing simpler, or more pleasing, than a slice of bread with butter spread across it - and let's not forget that cupcakes would be nowhere without butter!

If you can't tell I'm a fan of butter. A big fan. At my house we joke that bread is a "butter delivery system". So how could one possibly improve upon an already pleasing and versatile food like butter? Make it yourself.

While homemade butter might conjure images of bonnets, churns, and Little House on the Prairie, you have nothing to fear. Homemade butter is easier than you could ever imagine!

Butter is made from cream. Ever over whipped your cream for frosting and it turned grainy? Well you were on your way to making butter! You'll get about a 2:1 ratio when making butter. Meaning, 16oz of cream will make about 8oz of butter. (Also said, a pound of cream will make half a pound of butter.)

Now, it should be noted that butter can be whipped up in your food processor or stand mixer, but since I own neither of those, I made mine via shaking.

Things you'll need:
Elbow grease (or a partner or older child you can pawn the labor off on)
A jar with a secure lid (I used a mason jar)
Heavy cream (quantity up to you!)
A strainer or steady hand
A spatula or butter knife

Pour the cream into the jar and secure the lid tightly. This is where elbow grease comes in. You will need to shake the jar vigorously. For a while. Stick in there. This is a great chance to work out your biceps! (Or teach the value of hard work to the person you talked into shaking for you).

The amount of time you need to shake the jar depends on your strength; anywhere from 10-20 minutes. After a few minutes the jar will start to feel dense and heavy. You will no longer be able to feel the cream move from top to bottom. It will almost feel like shaking a solid object; very brick like. Keep shaking.

The next stage you'll reach is whipped cream. Yes, it is possible to stop here and top some strawberries with this deliciousness, but if you're hoping for butter it's important to (say it with me) keep shaking.

After a few more minutes the whipped cream will start to separate and look sort of grainy. The curds will start to separate from the whey (Little Miss Muffet anyone?) and that grainy looking mass will start becoming more identifiable clumps. At this point you should see liquid in the jar as well. This is buttermilk! I personally kept shaking a bit past this point, just to be sure, but it's not necessary.

Place your strainer in the sink (or if you'd like to save the buttermilk for pancakes or the like, place the strainer over a bowl). Open your jar and and pour the entire contents into the strainer. In my case, my handsome boyfriend, who also made butter with me, didn't feel like getting the strainer out and just carefully tilted the lid in a manner that allowed him to pour out the liquid without dumping the butter curds into the sink.

In either case, once the buttermilk is removed from the jar, rinse the butter curds with a small amount of water and drain the water as well. This is to ensure you've removed all liquid. Then using the spatula or butter knife, scoop the butter curds into a container of your choosing. Use the spatula to smooth and press the curds together to create a nice buttery texture.

Note: you can add salt to your butter, but I prefer to leave my butter unsalted. We did try our butter on a piece of bread with a tiny bit of salt sprinkled on top and it was very tasty too!

Tada! Pat yourself on the back and let out a solid "HECK YES!". You've just made butter. Use on or in any product you like!

<3 Tanya!