Shirley Temple Cupcakes

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Hey there, stranger!

Well, technically I’m the stranger. It’s almost as if I dropped off the face of the blog-world. You probably thought I forgot about you, that I gave up on sugar and baking, and that I’ve turned the other cheek. I assure you, I haven’t.

Life happened and in the midst of everything, I needed a hiatus. That hiatus turned to laziness then a loss of motivation. I think I’m ready to give it another go, I hope you’ll still have me.

After all, I made you cupcakes.

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These bad boys are SO tasty. A fluffy vanilla infused cake base with a cherry base, frosted with cherry infused buttercream and topped with a cherry.

So what do you say? Friends again? Pretty please with a cherry on top?

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Shirley Temple Cupcakes
Yields 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:
1 and 1/2 cups (6 oz) plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup Cherry 7-Up, at room temperature*
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice
Red food coloring

*I used regular 7-Up with a splash of maraschino cherry juice. It worked well!!

Instructions:

To make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and prepare a cupcake pan with your desired paper liners, set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 and 1/2 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), add the butter and sugar and beat on medium-high speed until creamy, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. (My mixture looked satiny at this point.)

Reduce the mixer speed to low, and alternate adding the flour mixture and the Cherry 7-Up, beginning and ending with the flour, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the vanilla and almond extracts, mixing well. (My mixture actually looked a bit curdled but they baked up great!)

Place about 3/4 cup of the cupcake batter in a separate small bowl and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour, maraschino cherry juice, and red food coloring (to your desired tint).

Evenly distribute the red cupcake batter among your prepared liners, about 1-2 teaspoons per liner, gently smoothing out the batter.

Once the red batter is in place, evenly distribute the remaining cupcake batter among the cupcake liners, making sure not to mix the two batters. Be sure to cover the red batter completely so it doesn’t bake up the sides and to the top.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs attached (do not overbake). Let cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

For the Buttercream frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch salt
2 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice

For garnish:
12 maraschino cherries with stems

To make the Buttercream Frosting: In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the pinch of salt, powdered sugar, vanilla and almond extracts, lemon juice, and maraschino cherry juice into the bowl. On low speed, incorporate the ingredients until the powdered sugar is mixed in. Increase the speed to medium and beat for about 2-3 minutes. If you like your frosting thicker, add more powdered sugar (small amounts at a time) and if you like it thinner add a bit more cherry juice.

Pipe as desired onto your cooled cupcakes and garnish with a maraschino cherry. Enjoy!

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Recipe from The Curvy Carrot For a gluten-free version go to Simply Gluten-Free for the recipe.

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

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There are just some things that are the epitome of summer:

Grilling hamburgers and hot dogs outdoors

Lemonade in tall glasses with lots of ice cubes

Squeals of joy as children run through sprinklers

Popsicles and sticky hands and mouths

Long days of soaking up the sunshine

Getting splashed in the pool by loved ones

and root beer floats.

These are pretty much perfect to serve at any summer picnic. Heck these are great to be served ANYTIME! You can dress them up, dress them down, keep them plain, either way… they are delicious!! Unbelievably moist and chocolatey!

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And there’s no bothering with glasses and spoons and straws and hosing down children covered in root beer scented sticky goo. Its a win-win all around!

I must warn you: the root beer flavor doesn’t intensify until the next day, so I suggest to wrap it up nice and tight and pull it out the next day to frost, cover in ice cream or drench in ganache. Do what you will!

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Root Beer Float Cupcakes
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

2 cups root beer (don’t use diet)
1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs

Preheat even to 325 degrees F. Line 2 cupcake tins with paper liners.

In a medium saucepan, heat the root beer, cocoa powder and butter over medium heat until butter is melted. Add sugars and whisk until dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

In a small bowl whisk the eggs until just beaten. Then whisk into the cocoa mixture until combined. Gently fold the flour mixture into the cocoa mixture. The batter will be slightly lumpy. You can give it a quick whisk if you like, but don’t over beat the batter or it could cause the cake to be tough. Don’t worry, the batter is very loose.

Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 to 3/4 full (a 1/4 cup scoop or measuring cup should fill them perfectly) and bake cupcakes, rotating trays back to front and top to bottom halfway through, until a tester inserted into the center of each comes out with moist crumbs, about 17 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Top with ice cream or dust with confectioners sugar or glop on the optional frosting!

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Chocolate Root Beer Frosting

2 ounces 60% cocoa, melted
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt (you may want to use less… maybe just 1/2 teaspoon)
1/4 cup root beer
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using an electric hand mixer, beat softened butter and cocoa powder. Once combined add the melted chocolate, salt, powdered sugar and root beer. Beat together until smooth. Spread on top of cooled cupcakes. Smash into face.

MSC – Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes

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Don’t you just haaaate it when time runs away from you? Those times when you think you have an extra day when in all actuality, whatever you need done by ‘tomorrow’ is supposed to be done today?

I’m having one of those days.  I thought I had plenty of time to get this post up tomorrow. Nope, it needs to be up today.

You know what else I hate? When you think that tomorrow is Friday… and its not. It’s thursday.

That was my yesterday.

Imagine how bummed I was when I rejoined reality.

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But these were a bright spot in my day none-the-less. They are super easy to whip up, they don’t need room temperature butter or any flour to be measured. These are a good cuppie to share with your gluten-free mates :)

They have a beautiful craggy, crusty look to them but once you get past that, they are moist and delicious underneath! Top with a scoop of your ice-cream of choice and you’re good to go!

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Thank you to Lauryn from Bella Baker for choosing this recipe! Head on over to the other bakers’ blogs to see their beautiful creations! You can find the recipe in Martha’s book Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes.

Happy St. Patty’s Day!!

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I have missed every fun food related “holiday” since, well… ever. I missed Pi Day, Nutella Day, CCC week, Pound Cake Day (or was it week?) either way, I miss EVERYTHING!! So I WASN’T missing the chance to make something awesome for St. Patrick’s Day.

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Enter: Green Velvet Cupcakes! The color is AMAZING!! The texture of these is fluffy and moist and they bake up so pretty!! If you’re looking for drop dead delicious chocolate flavor, look elsewhere. These have a hint of chocolate flavor but vanilla takes the spot light. But there’s something to be said for aesthetics!! I sent half to work with the fiance (and I’m happy to report that they are all gone!) and the other half went to work with me. Not even the UPS guy could turn one down.

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As soon as the green shock-and-awe wore off, there wasn’t a sound. Except the munching and “mmmm, oh yum’s” filling the air. I’ll be using this recipe as my go to Red Velvet cake recipe as well, but I’ll be playing around with different chocolate measurements.

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I topped these with a tad of vanilla frosting (although cream cheese is ideal, but when you discover that you only have half a block left, this can pose a problem. HALF A BLOCK?! Who has HALF a block? Ugh.) and green sprinkles.

They are SURE to delight!!

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Red Green Velvet Cake

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon cocoa (mine was heaping)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup oil (use 1-1/2 for a layer cake)
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 oz. green food coloring (usually one standard McCormick bottle)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line two cupcake pans with liners.
  • Lightly stir eggs in a medium bowl with a wire whisk. Add remaining liquid ingredients and stir together with whisk until blended. Set aside.
  • Place all the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl and stir together really good with another wire whisk.
  • Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix starting on LOW to get things going(this is ONE ENTIRE BOTTLE of food coloring, you don’t want it on your clothes!) then on medium-high for about a minute or until completely combined.
  • Fill each liner about 2/3 of the way (I had extra batter left over so I filled em up about 3/4 of the way) and then drop the pans on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes for a layer cake and about 18 minutes for cupcakes. Or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • After about ten minutes, remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack. I also cover in plastic wrap while the cakes cool.
  • Then make the frosting (which I wasn’t too crazy about but below is the recipe in case you’re interested).

Fluffy Vanilla Frosting
From Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes book

Makes about 4 cups

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  • With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  • Reduce speed to medium. Add the confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed; after every two additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds to aerate frosting, then return to medium-high. This process should take about 5 minutes. Frosting will be very pale and fluffy.
  • Add vanilla, and beat until frosting is smooth. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 10 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

After seeing how fun baking something like this for St. Patty’s day was, I vow to bake more fun themed things for foodie holidays. Just do me a favor? Remind me when they are ;)

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SMS – Red Velvet (cup)Cakes

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I’ll start this post by telling you a little embarrassing baking secret (I sure have a lot of those, don’t I): up until a few years ago, I always thought Red Velvet was the flavor of the Red Velvet cake. I never knew it was just chocolate cake dyed with red food coloring. Don’t laugh… too hard. When you grow up in a world where everything has a different name and you aren’t taught the in’s and out’s of baking… things can get confusing. I guess I was just enamored with the beautiful red cake to notice that it was just red chocolate cake.

Well, my cake isn’t very red. It’s more of a burnt reddish color. Mental note for next time: add more red food coloring!! I also had to improvise on some ingredients due to lack thereof. Read on:

buttercream… check
red wine vineagar… red wine vinegar?! Who buys this crap?!?!” *mumbles in futility*
*sniffs buttercream* “BLEGH! How long has that been…” *checks expiration date, gasps, chucks buttercream*

SO, I subbed equal amount of sour cream for the buttercream and just left out the red wine vinegar. I had regular white vinegar but something told me that it wouldn’t do as a substitute. I pressed on, praying to the baking gods for an edible cake-like substance.

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I didn’t have an occasion to bake a cake or a million cupcakes (according to other bakers, this recipe yielded a LOT of dough) so I made 1/3 of the recipe and still ended up with 31 mini cuppies. And OH BOY were they adorable!! I tried one two and they tasted like a moist chocolate cake… with an oddly not-quite-red-not-quite-brown tint to it. I sent them off to work with the fiance and they were gone before lunchtime… which is how I happen to measure my baking success :)

A big thank you to Rosy of Rosy Lips and Lavender for choosing this recipe, as it was the first time I’ve made red velvet cake from scratch! Check out her blog for the recipe and the other bakers to see how they made out with this recipe.

And please, save me from my embarrassment and tell me something embarrassing in YOUR baking life. :)

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TWD – Milk Chocolate (bundt) Cupcakes

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Can you imagine what the world would be like if I worked at Williams-Sonoma?

Ok, I think the proper question is what would my KITCHEN be like if I worked at Williams-Sonoma? The answer? Intensively cluttered. I would have every knick-knack that I don’t need and everything that came in red, pink or was pint-sized would be mine. This includes this mini bundt pan that I’ve had my eye on at WS. You see, I have a problem with buying things that are smaller than its normal, universally accepted counterparts. I think its cute. And that’s my justification. That’s it… its cute. But the frugal woman inside of me has yet to grant me permission to buy the mini bundt pan.

You can imagine my face and my annoyance when I read this week’s TWD recipe. Oh the glares that I shot at the book would make any man shudder. Or at least think twice before denying me a mini bundt pan.

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On to the cake! I made it in cupcake form instead of adorable, stylish little bundts (no, I am NOT bitter) and it took the full 23 minutes for the toothpick to come out with moist crumblettes on it. The texture reminds me slightly of pound cake because of its tender and dense crumb. My walnut swirl wasn’t as beautiful as I’d imagined but no one really cared. *sigh* I guess I’m the only one who likes her goodies to be aesthetically pleasing as well.

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It lacked a bit in flavor, but I mainly chalk that up to the chocolate: I used Nestle which is what I had on hand rather than a higher quality chocolate. All in all it was still tasty.

The only thing I would do differently next time is double the ganache recipe because I didn’t even have enough to fully cover 5 cupcakes, and the recipe yielded 7 regular sized ones. I mean, what are people going to be more upset with: barely any ganache or enough ganache to make the world go ’round? It’s not rocket science people :)

Thank you to Kristin of I’m Right About Everything for choosing this recipe (head on over for the recipe). And for silently urging me to get that mini bundt pan. Just in case I didn’t long for it enough before, I am lusting over it now. ;) Be sure to check up on the TWD Bakers as well.

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MSC – Coconut Cupcakes… OMG yum.

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Let’s start this post off by noting that I was never a fan of coconut. Unless of course it was in the shape of an Almond Joy. But coconut cookies, cakes, anything sprinkled with the waxy, oddly textured stuff was shunned by me. I quickly turned my nose up in disgust and pranced away to play with barbies.

I am reformed! Can I get a hallelujah? I’d like to think that my adult taste buds are finally coming in and I am starting to branch out into different tastes and textures.

These cupcakes have opened up my mind. I must admit that I was a bit hesitant to try one but I sighed in that beautiful aroma and ogled the light, springy cupcake and I could no longer resist. Coconut or not, I was eating one! (After all, I had to even out the batch. Odd numbers bother me. I’m quirky, alright?)

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And it was indeed perfect. Soft and springy and fluffy. Warm and delicious. Hints of coconut flavor, but not over-powering. Oh the joy. And that was without the frosting.

Now, the frosting, I wasn’t too crazy about. It had a great texture, but even when I added vanilla extract, it tasted like it was still missing something. It’s a great simply-throw-together type recipe but it needs to be tweaked, flavor wise.

I halved the recipe and yielded 9 cupcakes and halved the frosting as well and had wayyy too much left over. I am no cupcake artist, but I am rather proud of the way these turned out! PRAISE ME!! *imitates Invader Zim*

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Now when I am offered a coconut treat, I’ll politely take one with an open mind. And then prance off to play with my barbies :)

A great big thank you goes out to Jennifer of Cinema Cupcakes for opening my coco-nutty world :D