Saturday, July 24, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I was inspired by Tanya yet again! She made red velvet cupcakes the other day, and I have been meaning to try a homemade recipe. I was recently told by a friend that she has made both boxed red velvet and homemade red velvet, and she will choose the box every time. After trying one of these red velvet cupcakes from scratch (which is something I never do!) I think I'm going to have to make homemade red velvet from now on! The recipe was easy, and man these cupcakes taste AMAZING!!!

When I decided I wanted to do this recipe, I didn't know if I had regular cocoa powder, but I knew I had Dutch cocoa powder, so I googled "Red Velvet Cupcakes with Dutch Cocoa" and found the recipe here.  I made a 1 1/2 batch of cupcakes and a double batch of frosting (because I never have enough frosting). All of the measurements are for a single batch of cupcakes, which makes 15 cupcakes.

All in all, this recipe was VERY easy and VERY tasty!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chocolate Covered Coffee Meltaway Cupcakes

This was supposed to be Chocolate Covered Mint Meltaway Cupcakes, but I forgot the mint at the store. So, I went with coffee instead! I know mint would have been absolutely perfect for this recipe, but I know coffee goes very well with chocolate, too. Especially the way I do it. :)

This recipe was for a co-worker's birthday, which is actually next week. Since I will be gone next week, I will -not be able to bake for everybody, but I wanted to give her a little something for her birthday. I asked her what she wanted and she gave me a look as if to say "Um, duh?" Her answer was chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate, which really should have been obvious to me! This recipe is perfect! Let's see: Chocolate? Check. Chocolate? Check. And chocolate? Check! This recipe makes 12 large cupcakes, but I only did a half batch for 6 large cupcakes. For some reason, these cupcakes (AGAIN!!) deflated in the center. I used brand new baking soda and baking powder. But, I have a solution! I flipped the cupcakes over, cut off the edges (that overflowed!!) and worked it that way!

See how the cupcake centers deflated?? I don't know why this keeps happening!!

The following is the recipe.

1 batch of Classic Chocolate Cupcakes, found here.
Make the cupcakes as the recipe says. (But, of course, since my friend likes chocolate, I added about 4 or 5 oz of chocolate chips to the batter!)

1 batch of fudge sauce, found here.
1 tsp mint extract (I used 2* tsp of instant coffee in the heavy whipping cream.
    * 2 tsp for a 1/2 batch of filling)
Make the filling as the recipe says, add the coffee with the cream or the extract with the chocolate. Let the filling cool in the fridge for 1 1/2 hours

Chocolate Cover:
2 batches of fudge sauce, found here.
Make the filling as the recipe says. Make the chocolate covering right before you cover the cupcakes so it's hot and easy to cover the cupcakes.

2 oz white chocolate
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp heavy whipping cream
Microwave for 45 seconds, stir. Microwave for an additional 45 seconds and hand-whip until smooth and there are no more clumps.

Cut the cupcakes in half horizontally. Hand-whip the filling so it's fluffy and spreadable. Spread the filling on the bottom half of the cupcake. (I used the top of the cupcake as the bottom of the cupcake.) Place the top of the cupcake on top of the filling. Cover the cupcakes with the chocolate covering, thoroughly. Don't feel like you have to use all of the sauce, but definitely do a couple of layers and make sure everything is covered. I placed the cupcakes on a wire rack and had a piece of parchment paper underneath to let the chocolate drip off, but the bottoms of the cupcake are not covered in chocolate this way. If you want the bottoms covered in chocolate, freeze the covered cupcakes for an hour, flip them over, then cover the bottoms generously. Freeze the cupcakes for another hour before flipping them upright again. I drizzled the white chocolate generously on top. Freeze or refrigerate until serving, then serve with a fork (or a spoon)!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Also known as "Nicole Needed Chocolate and Ended Up with a Mess"

I want to start out by saying, I don't bake everyday and only post the good recipes with good pictures. If I bake something, I am going to blog about the experience, so that I might learn from it, but also so that you don't make the same mistakes I did!

Sometimes I get bored with the same old recipes, so I mix it up a bit. Tonight I did it out of necessity. I decided to take my own advice, and use ingredients I already had. Back up. I didn't just say that.... I used ingredients I already had, yes, but it wasn't actually my idea. The credit goes to Tanya, my co-cupcake-conspirator. She is going to do a few Cupcakes on a Budget (I think... Don't quote me!) and so I was inspired to NOT SHOP for once!

My first attempt at buttercream several weeks ago left me with a lumpy over-sweet mass, and I wanted to give it another shot. Unfortunately, this wasn't the only "attempt" tonight. I had a bad day at work, and I wanted to pig-out on chocolate cupcakes, so I decided to try again at the buttercream for this recipe. I made a 1/2 batch of cupcakes, making 6 large cupcakes. It wasn't until my second try tonight that I noticed what went wrong the first time: water. I forgot to add the water to the recipe! I had wondered if it was the possibly-expired sour cream, or the extra dash of rising agents I added.

For my second attempt at the cupcakes, I left out the possibly-expired sour cream, and opted for whipped cream instead! I whipped up approximately 9-10 ounces of heavy whipping cream and used that (all of it) instead of the sour cream. Yes, for a half batch, the recipe would only call for 1/2 C sour cream, but I didn't want to waste the whipped cream and I wanted to be adventurous. I made sure to add in the water to this recipe, which made the batter a little thin. I folded in the whipped cream, instead of beating or whipping, for fear of over-beating. This made 21 cupcakes.

I used the Classic Chocolate Cupcake Mix, except for sour cream, I used whipped cream (which could be the reason that I ended up with a mess.....)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Makes: about 2 C

3 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 1/2 C powdered sugar
1 1/2 tbs Dutch cocoa powder
1 1/2 C butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C heavy whipping cream

This frosting was absolutely lickable! I almost licked the bowl clean!!

1. Heat the chocolate in a double boiler, and set aside to cool.
2. Beat the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder until smooth and creamy.
3. Beat in the melted chocolate until smooth and creamy.
4. Add the cream and vanilla and yet again, beat until smooth and creamy.
5. On medium speed, continue to beat for 3 minutes, until the frosting looks smooth and the color has lightened.

The buttercream came out great!! Smooth and chocolatey, I could almost eat it by itself! The second set of cupcakes, however, came out worse than the first. I don't know if it was the whipped cream that ruined these cupcakes, too, or not. These cupcakes came out looking like a crater. I have a feeling my baking powder and baking soda may be out-dated. I will pick some up soon and try this recipe again until I am successful. The pictures are of my horrible failure. Unfortunately, I have no chocolate and am now extremely frustrated!

UPDATE 7/22: I had one cupcake from the first batch of cupcakes, with some frosting on top, and it actually wasn't too bad. The edges were a bit crispy, which my husband really liked, but the rest tasted like a cupcake should. I am still going to buy more baking soda and baking powder and try again sometime. I really don't know what happened to the second batch of cupcakes.

Do-It-Yourself Cupcake Wrappers

It's Tanya again, bringing you Do-It-Yourself Cupcake Wrappers! Now, you can't have a cupcake wrapper without a cupcake to put inside it so today we're working with Fudge Marble Swirl Cupcakes with Hazelnut Cream Cheese Frosting.
First off, as you may or may not know, Nicole has already posted a recipe for Fudge Marble Cupcakes. (And guess what?! That same recipe is in the top 5 hits on Google when searching for Fudge Marble Cupcakes! Hooray!)

After reading through Nicole's version of Fudge Marble Cupcakes I noted she found the recipe a tad frustrating and while she did achieve a marble blend it was almost too blended and didn't offer the visual effect she was hoping for. (Not that any of our taste buds mind.) So, I decided to approach these cupcakes a little differently.

First off, lets start with Nicole's recipe for Classic Yellow Cupcakes. I won't repost it here, in order to save space, but just follow the link and you'll find all the information you need.

I personally swapped the sour cream for milk, because I'm a Budget Baker and we don't really use sour cream for anything else in our family so it wasn't worth buying.

1. Set aside 1 cup of the finished batter and then proceed with filling the tins with the rest of your batter.
2. Mix 1/3 C. of cocoa powder with the 1 cup of set aside batter, until smooth to create your fudge.
3. Then drop a dollop of the "fudge" into center of each filled cupcake tin. Using a butter knife gently swirl the fudge and batter together, taking care not to over mix. (If you over mix there won't be any swirl design or distinctive flavor difference between sections.)
4. Bake according to recipe! Tada! This is an easy way for any budget savvy chef to turn basic cupcakes into fun ones.

In true Budget Baker fashion, I made a last minute substitution to Nicole's wonderful Original Cream Cheese Frosting recipe because I had run out of vanilla extract! In order to replace the vanilla in the recipe I included two Splenda Flavors for Coffee (Hazelnut) packets into frosting. That's literally the only change I made to create Hazelnut Cream Cheese Frosting.

As for the Do-It-Yourself Cupcake Wrappers, well it's as easy as the rest. This tutorial (if you will) comes straight from Martha Stewart herself!

Parchment Paper Cupcake Wrappers
From the June issue of Martha Stewart Living

1. Cut 5-inch square pieces of parchment paper.

2. Spray a muffin/cupcake tin with vegetable oil cooking spray to hold parchment in place.

Place 1 piece of parchment into 1 cup of the tin, pressing along folds to crease. Repeat with other cups and parchment pieces.

4. Scoop batter into cups, and bake.

This is what they look like after baking! These wrappers are easy, affordable, and offer a rustic country charm to any cupcakes you bake. I find it's much easier to cool cupcakes because the tall sides of these homemade wrappers allow you to easily slide them out of the pan and cool on a separate rack or counter.

Happy baking, Cupcake Lovers!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Guest Post: Homemade Tacos

Greetings Cupcake Massacre readers!

I'm guest posting on Nicole's blog today to share a wonderful recipe for Homemade Tacos. I learned this technique from a dear friend of mine, Mike. Now I know these aren't cupcakes, but sometimes you just need a great dinner to prep those taste buds for the treats to come.

Prep Time: 0-10 minutes (depends if you use pre-grated cheese and shredded lettuce, or do it yourself)
Total Time: 45 minutes
Makes: roughly 12-16 tacos, depending on how full you fill them (feeds about 4)

1 lb ground beef or ground chuck (I use ground chuck if I can find a good price)
1 packet taco seasoning (brand of your preference)
1 pkg corn tortillas; the small ones, not burrito sized!
Vegetable oil
Grated cheese
Shredded lettuce
Other toppings you prefer: olives, onions, cilantro, tomatoes, avocados, salsa, sour cream, etc.

1. Take out a large, high walled skillet/frying pan and brown the ground beef/chuck.
2. When meat is thoroughly browned, drain grease and season taco meat according to packet's instructions. (Usually add packet contents, water and bring to a boil, then let simmer 5 minutes.)
3. Set meat aside in a bowl and keep handy.
4. Wipe out any left over grease and seasoning from pan and fill with oil. Again make sure it only goes up the pan walls about a quarter of an inch. Any more and you'll get what Mike and I fondly refer to as, Grease-acos.
5. Heat oil until you hear popping and see tiny bubbles forming in the oil. It is important the oil is very hot, so that the cooking process is quick. If the tacos sit in the oil for too long, you will also end up with Grease-acos.
6. Once your oil is hot, take a corn tortilla and fill with about 1 TBSP of the pre-made taco meat. Fold the tortilla in half and using tongs slowly lower the taco into the oil, gently laying it on it's side. (At this point some people use toothpicks to hold the top of the taco shut, I find if you use the tongs to hold it in place for a few seconds the oil does the rest.)
7. Fry each taco for about 1-2 minutes on each side. This will take a little eyeballing depending on how hot your stove has been able to get the oil. Continue until all meat is made into tacos. This will take a few batches. Most skillets will only fit about 4 tacos at a time.
8. Between batches lay tacos on top of a few paper towels to absorb any left over oil. Be sure to let the tacos cool for 3 -5 minutes. Any liquid inside the taco will be superheated from frying and could burn your mouth when you bite into it. Don't want that to happen!
9. Top with cheese and lettuce as well as any other favorite toppings and enjoy!

These tacos are a huge hit at our home and I hope they will be in yours as well especially if you compliment them with a desert from The Cupcake Massacre (like this one here that I'm dying to try)! The recipe may seem daunting, but truly it's a simple technique. Best of luck, and feel free to leave comments with questions if you have them!

Happy Cooking!

Tanya is a self-proclaimed cupcake aficionado and a lover of new challenges. When not watching science fiction or playing with her son, she often finds herself pondering questions without real answers. It’s definitely interfered with her getting the recommended amount of beauty sleep. ;) To see more of her writing, check out her blog Cupcakes and Plato at

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae Cupcakes

Also known as "The Cupcakes From Hell"
Also known as "Ice Cream Sandwich Cupcakes"

I did my first poll today, and I think it came out great! I'm really surprised at the responses I got, but Hot Fudge Brownie Cupcakes won barely! I'm going to consider doing this again, it was fun! Tomorrow is another co-worker's birthday and when I asked what she wanted, she said "surprise me!" I can do that, easy! What I can't do: Decide on a recipe. They all sound so amazing and delicious and I wish I could bake them all in one night and eat the ALL the next day! But alas, I don't even try most of my cupcakes, a lot of the ingredients I don't like.

Making the batter was rather interesting. My parents told me that my cupcakes come out a bit dense, and maybe I should use more rising agent (baking soda or baking powder). Well, hmm... This recipe does't have either. So I made a quick call to my mom who helped me out with what could potentially make this cupcake dense: Make sure I don't over beat the batter. She said that by whipping the eggs, sugar, and salt, I am adding air to the mixture. If I add the chocolate and flour and over-beat it, it takes the air out. Since there is no rising agent, these cupcakes should be light and fluffy on their own, as long as the batter is not over-beaten.

Assembling the cupcakes was a completely different matter. See the note below the directions.


Prep Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Makes: 12 cupcakes

3/4 C butter
6 oz unsweetened chocolate
3 large eggs
1 3/4 C sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 C unbleached all-purpose flour
1 pint ice cream (vanilla, chocolate chip, coffee, strawberry, etc)
Hot Fudge recipe found here.

1. Preheat the oven to 325°.
2. Heat the butter and chocolate in a double boiler until completely melted, then set aside to cool.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, and salt until completely mixed.
4. Add in the chocolate mixture and vanilla.
5. Slowly add the flour until no white streaks remain. Do not over-mix.
6. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners, and fill the liners to about 1/4 inch from the top.
7. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
8. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and cool on a rack. Pull the ice cream out to thaw when putting the cupcakes on the rack.
9. When the cupcakes are completely cool, cut the tops off.
10. When the ice cream is a spreadable texture, spread ice cream on the cupcake and place the top back on it, but do not press the top on.
11. Wrap the cupcake completely in saran wrap.
12. Freeze the cupcakes for 5 or more hours before serving.
13. Serve frozen and unwrapped with hot fudge sauce.
Above is an image of the cupcakes, wrapped in saran wrap in my freezer.

Let me start by saying, there is a 5 minute window where the ice cream is "spreadable." Good luck finding it. I will only ever again make these cupcakes if I am handed one million dollars, or if I figure out an easier way to do the assembly. This is a quote from the cookbook, Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans, "Cupcake sundaes are equally at home in a pool of chocolate sauce on your best china or eaten out of hand and dipped in the sauce for a midnight splurge. Whenever you serve them, they are handy to have ready in the freezer." Maybe it's just me, but the "midnight splurge" made it sound like this would be a quick easy recipe. Um, no. This recipe sounds so delicious, but I do not advise you try this unless you handle stress and frustration and melting ice cream and crumbling cupcakes and sticky saran wrap... The list goes on. IF (and that's a BIG "if") I do this recipe again, I will cut a whole out of the top of the cupcake and put the ice cream in a pastry bag and fill the cupcakes that way. But I doubt I will try again. This recipe calls for hot fudge, but to be completely honest, I was exhausted just from making the cupcakes and filling the cupcakes that I decided against the hot fudge. Instead they will just be Ice Cream Sandwich Cupcakes.

UPDATE 7/16: I made the hot fudge this morning, so they are true Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae Cupcakes. They won't be eaten until 2:30-ish, so I'll let you know later how they came out of the saran wrap. The fudge recipe can be found here.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

S'mores Tarts

"These are my favorite! Even better than Fudge Marble Cupcakes!" That would be my husband. Of course he is biased, but he is honest about my baking. This cupcake smells just like a graham cracker, chocolate, and marshmallow campfire treat, without the campfire. I made a triple batch for my mother-in-law's birthday celebration, while a little time consuming, the recipe is really easy.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Makes: 6 large cupcakes or
          12 regular cupcakes

2 C graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp sugar
3/4 C melted butter
1 C milk chocolate candy
6 marshmallows
powdered sugar for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
2. Crush the graham crackers to crumbs. I used the Pampered Chef Food Chopper.
3. Melt the butter in a microwaveable bowl.
4. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter until completely mixed. Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl if necessary.
5. Add in the chocolate, and mix for 2 minutes.
6. Line the cupcake trays, and spray the liners with non-stick spray.
7. Fill the liners half full, firmly packing the mix into the liners.
8. Bake the cupcakes for 10 minutes.
9. Place a marshmallow in the center of each cupcake.
10. Bake for an additional ten minutes.
11. Remove the cupcakes and let them cool in the cupcake trays for 20 minutes before moving them to a colling rack.
12. After 20 minutes, when the cupcakes are cool, the marshmallow will have deflated. Sprinkle the tops with powdered sugar. I used the Pampered Chef Flour/Sugar Shaker.

Enjoy warm or cool. However you prefer, the marshmallow will still be gooey!!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Cinnamon & Cappuccino Cupcakes

I've done this recipe a couple of times, and every time I do it differently. I found this recipe in the Instruction Manual of my KitchenAid stand mixer. It's been talked about from coast to coast by my husband's grandmother who cannot stop talking about it! This time, I decided to forgo the coffee whipped cream, and make a whipped ganache topping. I have never made ganache before, so I'm hoping it came out tasty! I made a triple batch for a co-worker's birthday, and came out with 41 cupcakes.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Makes: 13 cupcakes (a baker's dozen!)

1/2 C butter, softened
1 1/3 C sugar
3 eggs
3/4 C milk
1 tbsp & 2 tsp instant espresso or coffee
2 tbsp Pampered Chef Sweet Cinnamon Sprinkle
1 3/4 C unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whip the butter and slowly add the sugar until creamy and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Continue mixing on a slower speed, and add one egg at a time, 15 seconds apart.
4. Mix the milk and espresso or coffee and cinnamon sprinkle until completely mixed, and set aside.
5. In a different large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt.
6. Mix the flour mixture with the sugar and egg mixture along with the milk mixture, switching between the flour mixture and the milk mixture beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl if necessary.
7. Spoon the batter into cupcake wrappers up to an inch from the top.
8. Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
9. Let the cupcakes cool before frosting.


I used leftover (frozen) glaze, found here, heated it in a double boiler until smooth, added two to three tablespoons of instant coffee and Saigon cinnamon (instead of the sprinkle). Because I don't know how much glaze I had, I really can't say the ratio, but to taste. Always start out with less than you think and taste it. It's always easier to add more than to take it out. I cooled the hot glaze and then whipped the cooled glaze into a whipped ganache. After double checking the recipe for the glaze, it includes butter... So we are going to hope the whipped ganache holds.


I haven't baked in over a week and it is rather depressing. Times are hard, and money is tight, so I was unable to bake this weekend. This week is a co-worker's birthday, so I will be making some cupcakes tonight and will update the blog with pictures and the recipe. Since it is a recipe that I did *before* I started my blog, it is one I am familiar with, and is not a duplicate since the blog has started. My husband will be happy with this cupcake as it is one of his favorites, although there is a slight twist....

Don't worry, there won't be a super-long wait! Can you wait until tonight?