Category Archives: cupcakes

Strawberry Cone Cakes

Last weekend I was invited to a Pink and Purple Potluck for my friend Elise’s 21st birthday (yes we have  the same name, and yes, it’s very confusing). Now, pink and purple foods weren’t mandatory, but you know how much I love themes. And when I think pink, I think adorable…and when I think adorable, I think foods that look like other foods. Hence the cone cakes. Now what is a cone cake, you ask? Why a cupcake inside an ice cream cone, of course!  I decided to make them extra authentic by incorporating real strawberries into the icing. It was crazy how much they looked like strawberry frozen yogurt. If you want to give them a try, you’ll need:

  • 18 flat-bottomed ice cream cones
  • 1 package vanilla cake mix
  • pink gel food colouring
  • 1 1/2 cups softened butter
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 1 cup freeze-dried strawberries
  • sprinkles
Start off by preparing your cake mix according to the package directions, and preheat the oven. If you’re cute, you’ll add a little pink food colouring so the inside of the cone matches the outside (the more realistic the better).
Stand your cupcakes on a baking sheet, and fill them up half-way. This part is crucial. You may be tempted to add more batter, but DON’T! If your cones overflow, you will have to pick bits of cake off the outside, and that is just icky. Trust me, I know from experience.
Bake them according to the package, and get started on your icing. Pulverize your freeze-dried strawberries in a food processor. It is very important that they be freeze-dried, and not just regular dried. You can find these at most bulk stores.
In a large bowl, cream your butter until it’s soft and smooth. Using a wooden spoon, add the icing sugar one cup at a time, and finally add your strawberry powder. The strawberries should make the icing nice and pink, but if you want you can add some more food colouring.
When your cone cakes have cooled, fill a piping bag with icing and a star shaped tip. Pipe liberal amounts of icing onto your cone cakes, and sprinkle with a few decorations.
These babies can be tricky to transport. I suggest covering a rectangular cake pan with foil, and nestling the cones into holes in the foil.
Give these a try for your next Pink and Purple Potluck. Or I guess you could make them for a regular party too. Happy baking!

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DIY Cupcake Kits

Here we go with day 3 of Luvcrumbs’ 12 Days of Christmas.

This one is an easy half-handmade gift to make you seem like the world’s most thoughtful friend. Just throw together a few supplies in an adorable little caddy, and you have a perfect present for all the “creative types” on your list.

This project is much more cost effective in bulk, so make as many as you can. For each kit, you’ll need:

Some sprinkles, and decorations…and tiny adorable containers to put them in. I chose 3 different kinds for each of my kits, but it’s up to you.

Fun and colourful cupcake liners (24 for each kit).

Toothpicks and decorations to top the cupcakes. I made little glittery flags out of sticky-backed glitter paper (dollar store whaaat?), and picked up a few little felt cupcakes from Walmart. Do some hunting to find deals, or chose a theme that suits your giftee.

Finish off by popping all of your tidbits into a giftable vessel (perhaps a mini paint can?), and decorate it if you wish. Now your lucky recipients can follow in your crafty footsteps and get their bake on.

Check back tomorrow for an impressive holiday cake.

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Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

These delicious cupcakes are an adaptation of one of my favourite summer desserts. You can customize them with your favourite go-to recipes, or save time with pre-made ingredients. Either way, they look, and taste impressive. Give them a go for your next summer gathering! You’ll need:

Combine 5 large egg whites with 1 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of lemon extract (optional) in a large, heatproof bowl. Place bowl over a pot of simmering water, and whisk for 3-5 minutes until sugar has disolved, and whites are frothy. Remove from heat, and beat on high for 6-8 minutes until stiff, glossy peaks form. This should be used immediately.

To assemble your cupcakes, remove about a teaspoon of cake from the centre of your cupcake using an apple corer, or a knife. Be careful not to cut all the way to the bottom of the cake, or else your filling will fall through.

Place your chilled filling (or store bought curd) into a zipper bag or piping bag. Snip off the end, and pipe about a tablespoon of filling into each cupcake. Don’t worry if the filling spills over the hole slightly.

Once your cupcakes are filled, prepare your boiled meringue icing. Ice your cupcakes generously, finishing with a swirl. Place your iced cupcakes under the broiler for a minute or two, until they are nice and golden brown. If you have a torch, you can use this to toast your meringue.

Keep your cupcakes in a cool dry place until you’re ready to serve them so that the meringue doesn’t sweat. You can thank me now that you have an excuse to throw that garden party you’ve been thinking about. Happy baking!

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Lavender Tea Cakes

I first started cooking with lavender when I made a lavender and white chocolate cake as per request for my Mom’s birthday two years ago. Once you learn how to infuse lavender into liquid ingredients, you can add it to just about any recipe. You can usually find it at health food or gourmet shops, and it is relatively inexpensive. It is a complex flavour, and adds sophistication to the most basic ingredients. These bite sized treats are delicately scented with lavender and topped with smooth honey cream cheese frosting. I made 48 tea cakes (mini cupcakes), but you can make full-sized cupcakes if you prefer. The miniature versions would be the perfect addition to an afternoon tea party. You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup cooking lavender
  • 1 box Duncan Hines moist white cake mix (you can use any mix that adds egg white, water, and oil)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • concentrated purple gel food colouring (optional)
  • cupcake liners (optional)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 8 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp softened butter
  • 3-4 cups icing sugar

This recipe is based on a cake mix that calls for 1 1/3 cups of water. If the recipe on your box calls for a different quantity, use that amount to measure your milk. I added a bit extra to compensate for the milk that you lose when the lavender absorbs some. If your mix calls for whole eggs or different quantities of oil, follow those directions instead.

In a small saucepan, pour your milk, and 1/4 cup of lavender. Cover and heat on low until milk is scalding (not quite a boil). Let cool, and strain out the lavender flowers. You should be left with about 1 1/3 cups of lavender infused milk, which you will need for your cake mix. Discard the used lavender.

In a large bowl, pour your cake mix, and add the extra ingredients according to the package. You will be substituting your lavender milk for the water in the box recipe. Beat together the mix, milk, eggs and oil on medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl as you go. Add your vanilla, and food colouring if you wish. I added colour to overpower the slightly grey cast that the lavender leaves behind.

If you have a mini muffin pan, place your liners inside. Otherwise, place your liners on a flat baking sheet. Fill them about 2/3 full with batter, and bake according to the directions on your mix. Your baking time will probably be less than indicated for standard cupcakes, so keep an eye on them if you are making minis.

While your tea cakes are cooling, you can make your frosting. Cream together butter, cream cheese, and honey in a large bowl on medium-low speed. Add the icing sugar about 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down your bowl as you go. Continue adding until you reach a thick but workable consistency.

To frost your tea cakes, you can either spread or pipe on your icing. I filled a piping bag, and used a round tip to cover my cakes with a generous dollop of frosting. They will look cute either way; the honey gives the icing a nice shiny look. Now sprinkle your cakes with a few lavender flowers to finish them off. If you are making these in advance, keep them refrigerated until about an hour before serving.

As I said earlier, these little mini cupcakes would be adorable at a fancy tea party or lunch. Enjoy them with friends who share your adventurous appetite for new flavour combinations!

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Coconut Cupcakes with Lime Filling and White Chocolate Buttercream Icing

The tropical flavours in these cupcakes make a delectable combination. The super sweet coconut cake gets a tangy punch when you bite into the gooey lime centre. And, depending on your kitchen know-how and free time, you can adapt the recipe to include homemade or store-bought ingredients. The recipe yields about 36 generously iced cupcakes.

You’ll need:

  • 36 cupcake liners (optional)
  • 2 pkgs white cake mix (or 2 batches of your favourite recipe)
  • 3 tbsp coconut extract
  • 1 tbsp almond extract
  • 5 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 1/2 cups lime curd (I used one batch of this recipe: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/fresh-lime-curd/Detail.aspx, but you can buy it  if you prefer)
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1 pound butter softened
  • about 5 cups icing sugar
  • piping bag and decorating tip #230 (Wilton)
  • 5 limes, sliced
  • 1/2 cup toasted, shaved coconut

If you plan to make your own lime curd, do this first. You will want it to cool fully before filling your cupcakes.

Preheat your oven and prepare your cake mixes as directed, adding 2 cups of your shredded coconut, and both extracts. Fill your cupcake liners about 2/3 full, and bake according to your recipe. When your cupcakes are golden brown, remove them from the oven, and set them aside to cool.

Now, I mentioned earlier that you can substitute store-bought ingredients for parts of this recipe, but I don’t recommend skimping on time with the icing. Real buttercream icing is too good to pass on, and even if you flavour canned frosting, it won’t measure up.  Therefore, I suggest that you go for the gusto with the icing, and save time using a cake mix. In my opinion, cake mixes are just as delicious as most homemade cake recipes, and sometimes even better. You can also shave off time by buying your lime curd in a jar. You will find it in some grocery stores, and most specialty shops. Look for an option with lots of real lime for the most flavourful filling.

To make your icing, cream your butter with a  hand mixer until it is soft and fluffy. Don’t whip it too much or it will get air bubbles that will ruin the look of your icing. Now, melt your white chocolate, and slowly beat it into the butter. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate, or it will get crumbly, and once again, ruin the look of your icing. Add about 2 cups of icing sugar to the mixture, and cream it in with a wooden spoon. Doing this by hand will prevent over mixing  and will give your icing a nice smooth look. Continue adding icing sugar about 1/2 cup at a time, until your icing is a workable consistency. It should be a bit thicker than mashed potatoes. Set aside your icing while you fill your cupcakes with lime curd.

To fill your cupcakes, place your decorating tip into an icing bag, and fill the bag with your curd. Insert the tip about 3/4 of the way into the centre of each cupcake and squeeze out roughly 1 tbsp of curd. If the top of your cupcake cracks, it is probably too full, but don’t worry because you will be covering any imperfections with icing anyway. A bit of filling will probably seep out of the hole in the top of your cupcakes, but will also be hidden under the icing.

Once your cupcakes are filled, frost them generously by either piping or spreading on icing. Scatter your remaining coconut onto a large dish, and roll your iced cupcakes in it to cover them. After coating your cupcakes in shredded coconut, decorate half of the batch with a thin slice of lime, and the other half with a sprinkling of toasted coconut. Add the lime slices just before serving so your icing doesn’t get all slimey from lime juice.

One bite of these cupcakes will transport you straight to the tropics, but enjoy with caution, I accidentally ate five in one day.

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Butterbeer Cupcakes

After visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal, my friends and I are always on the hunt for magical treats, so when my roommate stumbled on a recipe for butterbeer cupcakes on http://amybites.com/?p=623, we had to make them. There are several steps to the process, so it took a while for us muggles to whip them up, but the instructions are easy enough to follow. They are so buttery and delicious; before you know it they’ll have vanished!

 

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