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Archive for August, 2009

oreo cupcakesIn Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World, one of the many intriguing variations on the basic chocolate cupcake is for cookies and cream/Newman-O’s cupcakes, and I’ve wanted to make them FOR AGES.  Luckily, M. Ducksworth is amenable to the suggestion, so off we go!

We needed some Newmans-Os, as they are vegan and not as frightening as real Oreos in their hydrogenation-levels.  Instructions, after the jump

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009 I have been craving massive amounts of chocolate and so I decided to cram as much of it into one cupcake recipe as possible!  However, I am not a fan of single flavors; needing variety, I like to have different tastes going on.  My solution to this?  I grabbed my good ol’ Better Homes and Garden cookbook, found a chocolate cupcake recipe and started in!

The recipe called for unsweetened chocolate, but in my need for chocolatey goodness, I used a bar of Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate.  Because I did this, I decreased the amount of brown sugar to be creamed with the shortening.  I then decided to fold in some white chocolate chips, to add another layer of flavor.  And for frosting?  Well, a white chocolate butter cream of course!

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Here’s the thing: I really need to go grocery shopping.  I’m out of a lot of things, including cocoa powder.  What I do have is a fairly large hunk of chocolate, so I ended up chopping it up, adding a little soy milk, and melting it on VERY low heat.

Meltypants

Meltypants

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I was SO excited to experiment and make a batch of carrot-ginger cupcakes.  I’ve had carrot-ginger soup before and have always liked the combination.  How hard can if be to translate those tastes into a cupcake?  Simply take a carrot cake/cupcake recipe, add some grated ginger, and kick up a normal old cream cheese frosting.  Good, right?

Well…none of my cookbooks (and I’m talking your good-ole cookbooks like Better Homes and Garden, The Frugal Gourmet, and Junior League) had a regular carrot cake recipe.  Instead, I chose a well-rated one from allrecipes.com and fixed it up with about 2 tsp. of freshly grated ginger.  The recipe would have made about 30 cupcakes, but I only had 24 liners.  So, I made two dozen regular cupcakes and a dozen mini cupcakes.  The results of the two sizes were QUITE different!

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As one might guess by this point, I am experimenting with baking with alcohol, and when I had a sweets craving this afternoon, I knew what I had to do: Rum Coffee Cupcakes.  As with the mojito cupcakes, I used Rogue Dark Rum, which is both a crime against good rum and a glorious compliment to the cupcakes.

Cupcakes sans frosting--I love how spotted they are

Cupcakes sans frosting--I love how spotted they are

I used the basic vanilla cupcake recipe seen in the book to the right, and cut out about a quarter cup of soy milk, added a quarter cup of rum, and dumped a couple tablespoons of instant coffee crystals into the batter, resulting in the spotted coloring in the picture.  I used a plain vanilla buttercream frosting, because I wanted the most exciting flavor to come from the rum and the coffee in the cupcake.  Instructions after the jump. (more…)

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I am thoroughly convinced that cooking and baking with alcohol can only make whatever I’m cooking and baking taste better.  Case in point, the bourboncoffeechocolate cake known affectionately in my circle of friends as the Cake of Doom.

But I digress.

I am also thoroughly convinced that this rum would make AMAZING mojito cupcakes.  The recipes I’m looking at to guide my foray into Mojito cupcakes incorporate the Mojito flavors in a variety of ways, but  I’m going to add lime zest and a dash of rum to the batter, and make a rum/spearmint buttercream frosting and put a candied lime on top.

For the sake of Mojitos and possibly mint frosting, I made spearmint simple syrup, something ludicrously easy to do.

Fresh Spearmint!

Fresh Spearmint!

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005As much as I like to experiment, I love to fall back on the classics.  I decided to break out my grandma’s 1965 Better Homes and Garden Cookbook for inspiration.  I perused the pages until I found a recipe for a spice cake, decided that it would make yummy cupcakes, and started baking!  Really, I needed no inspiration because these recipes are all SO good that I left them “as is.”  If you’re feeling cold on a winter’s night (not that it’s winter now…) or want a taste of fall, bake these up.  You’ll love them!

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