Tuesday, July 31, 2012

update on the blueberry cupcakes

they were phenomenal! oh my goodness, i cannot even describe how tasty these things were. definitely worth making again and again!

i have a co-worker who has been there for a little over a year. one of the first times i brought cupcakes to work after he transfered in he told me that he wasn't really a sweets person so he would never eat any. a couple of months ago i made mini strawberry cupcakes with this amazing strawberry vanilla bean frosting (it tasted like strawberry ice cream!) and i finally convinced him to try one since they were mini. then a few weeks later i made another batch of mini cupcakes for another co-worker's birthday and i harassed him into trying one of those. well today i brought a few of these blueberry ones that were leftover and without me even saying anything to him he ate one (a whole full-sized cupcake)! i didn't even realize he had eaten one until he came up to me and told me i should be imprisoned. i was super confused so i asked why he thought that and he said, "because those cupcakes are ridiculously delicious." so i've converted someone from "not really a sweets person" to a cupcake eater. and i don't even have to badger him into eating them anymore! i couldn't be more proud. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

blueberry cupcakes

my sister found this recipe martha stewart's magazine and requested that i make them for her birthday. we haven't eaten them yet but they look and smell delicious! my only complaint is that the frosting is runny as hell. i even put, oh, about an extra cup of powdered sugar in it and it's still so runny! also, the amount of topping that this recipe makes is probably about twice as much as i needed, and spooned it on pretty heavily.

because the frosting is so runny, these cupcakes aren't very pretty to look at. that bummed me out a little because i spent so much time making them. i could have added more powdered sugar to stiffen it up but i didn't want it to be too sweet. 

here's the recipe:

Blueberry Cupcakes
Active time: 25 minutes
Total time 1 hr 25 min.
Makes: 12 cupcakes
Preheat oven: 375 F

6 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark-brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

1 2/3 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
6 ounces blueberries (1 1/4 cups)

1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 cup high-quality blueberry jam, such as Hero, strained (3 Tbsp)

1. Topping: Mix together granulated and brown sugars and cinnamon.

2. Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 375 with rack in upper third of oven.  Line cups of a standard muffin tin with baking cups. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Beat together butter and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then beat in vanilla, scraping down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to low, and beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour.  Fold in blueberries.
3. Divide batter among baking cups.  Add topping, pressing to adhere to batter. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 20 to 21 minutes.  Remove cupcakes from tin, and let cool completely on a wire rack.

4. Icing: Beat together butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Reduce speed to low, and gradually beat in vanilla and confectioners' sugar. Raise speed to medium-high, and beat 1 minute. Spoon jam on top of icing, and without stirring, spoon icing into a disposable pastry bag.  Snip off a 3/4-inch opening in tip, and pipe swirled mounds of icing on top of each cupcake.  Although best if eaten immediately, cupcakes can be refrigerated up to 6 hours and brought to room temperature 45 minutes before serving.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

chocolate chip cupcakes

i can't believe it's been over a year since i've posted here. well, i sort of can, i guess. i can explain...sort of. i have fibromyalgia and it really hinders the amount of activity i can do when it's hot outside. i happen to live in central texas where we had almost 100 days of temperatures over 100 degrees last summer. so, as you can imagine, i was in pretty bad shape. i basically just went to work and came home. i did very little socializing and as a result of that, very little baking. i mean, i can't bake a batch of cupcakes if i don't have anyone to share them with! 

so, what about the fall/winter months? i can't really explain that but i will tell you that i made the most amazing chocolate tres leches cake as a thank you to one of my best friends for taking me to the wilco taping of austin city limits. i didn't take any pictures of it and i would honestly have to do some serious research to come up with the recipe that i used because i used elements of 2 or 3 different recipes that i found online. one day i will figure it out though because i'm sure i'm going to want to make it again. 

anyway, how about those chocolate chip cupcakes? tuesday is my little nephew's 2nd birthday so we're having a little family celebration today. tuesday is also the birthday of one of my favorite coworkers. she won't be there on tuesday so i have to bring her birthday cupcakes tomorrow. that means i have to make 2 batches up cupcakes today. in an effort to retain some sanity and order i decided to use a cake mix for karsten's cupcakes. 

1 betty crocker super moist white cake mix
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tablespoon brown sugar

i made the cake mix per the directions on the box, then added in the chocolate chips and brown sugar. with about 7-8 minutes left until the cupcakes were done (i baked them for 18 minutes) i started to caramelize some brown sugar. 

1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water

i just put the ingredients in a saucepan and put it on high until it started to boil. then i turned it down to medium heat and stirred it with a whisk while it boiled for about 4 more minutes. after the cupcakes came out of the oven i poked holes in the tops of all of them, then i brushed the caramelized brown sugar on top. it's important to note that this needs to be done immediately after taking the sugar off the stove as it will start to harden pretty quickly, making it difficult to brush on to the cupcakes. i let them cool for a while, about an hour, before frosting them.

i made a chocolate buttercream. here's the recipe:

5 oz good quality semi or bittersweet chocolate (i actually used ghiradelli gourmet milk 32% cacao, so...not semi or bittersweet)
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
4-8 tablespoons milk

melt chocolate in double boiler (i find that it's easiest if you shave down the chocolate or cute it into really small pieces). allow to cool to room temperature. in the bowl of an electric mixer, blend chocolate and butter until creamy, about a minute. sift in 1/2 of the powdered sugar and all of the cocoa, then beat until thickened and mostly combined, adding 2 tablespoons milk to loosen. add remaining powdered sugar and beat until combined, adding up to 6 tablespoons more milk until desired consistency is reached. 

this is one of the cupcakes after it was brushed with the caramelized brown sugar. i actually ate one of these without frosting and it was delicious!

and here is the finished product. i realize that the frosting looks like poop but i don't care. the frosting came out pretty soft and i knew that if i used a star tip, the design would fall pretty quickly anyway so i just used the big circle one. luckily it's just for my family so i'm not too worried about the appearance. also, they taste amazing.

if you're wondering about all the brown sugar i will tell you, it's because i wanted these to be kind of like chocolate chip cookies and brown sugar is one of the main flavors that i identify in a chocolate chip cookie. so there you have it.