Monday, May 28, 2012

Chocolate and Peanut Butter

My son's 15th birthday was last month. Last year, I made him a guitar cake ... so I asked him what he wanted this year. Instead of cake, he said he wanted peanut butter filled chocolate cupcakes ... AND ... his favorite chocolate fudge frosting. He truly is my boy ... I LOVE chocolate and peanut butter too.

When I make chocolate and peanut butter cupcakes, I usually make peanut butter buttercream and fill and top a chocolate cupcake with it. But he specifically asked for the chocolate fudge buttercream and I didn't want to make two kinds of frosting. So I decided to go a different route with the filling. I found a recipe for a peanut butter filling that went into the cupcake before baking.

I got the recipe for the filling from Lizzy at Your Cup of Cake. The recipe is very simple.

Peanut Butter Filling
6 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons milk

Just cream all of the ingredients until well combined and set aside until ready to use.

So here's what I did ...

I started by making my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe and then filled each of the baking cups about half full. I then placed a dollop of the filling in each cup.
To make sure nothing spilled over the top, I used a spoon to push the filling down into the batter. I then baked at 350 for 19 minutes and then placed them on a wire rack to cool.

While they cooled I made Collin's favorite chocolate fudge frosting. I had also bought a package of regular sized peanut butter cups. I took this time to unwrap each of them and cup them in half with a sharp knife.

When everything was cooled and ready to go, I loaded up my piping bag with frosting and used a large star tip to make a pretty swirl on top. I then placed a peanut butter cup half on each one.

After dinner, we sang to the boy and each had a cupcake. I had made so many of them that we had cupcakes for days to come as well. Collin was very pleased.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Blueberry Pancake Cupcakes

I've mentioned before that my boys are really into music. They both are in band and choir, and they both play in the jazz band. The tough part right now is that one is in high school and the other is in junior high. I end up going to a lot of concerts each year. But that's okay because I enjoy hearing them play and sing.

Junior high jazz band always rehearses at 7:00 in the morning a couple of days a week. Being a morning person, this is really no problem for me. The boys, on the other hand, really aren't morning people. Not really sure how that happens. Wait ... yes I do ... their dad's not a morning person either.

Anyway ... the parents of the jazz band members are given a snack schedule at the beginning of each semester. One morning I'll be responsible for bringing drinks, and another morning I'll be responsible for bringing a snack. I think this is a great idea. The only problem is that I don't think Rice Crispy Treats and Goldfish are good morning snacks. I think it should be something breakfast related. But since I'm the cupcake lady, how can I turn cupcakes into breakfast.

Ding ding ding ding! I have an idea!

Blueberry Pancake Cupcakes!!!!!!!

Okay, I know. They could still be considered sweets and/or junk food. But it kind of sounds like breakfast. So that's what I made the last time it was my turn to provide snacks.

Here's how I made them.

Blueberry Pancake Cupcake
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 egg whites
3 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 360 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners (yields 24). Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. On low speed, add eggs and egg whites one at a time until each is fully incorporated. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture in thirds alternating with the wet (milk, vanilla extract, and sour cream). Let each ingredient fully mix in before adding another, still be careful not to over mix. Fold in blueberries. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for about 18 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

Maple Buttercream
1 cup butter, softened
1 lb (4 cups) powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar until combined. Stir in the vanilla, salt, and syrup. Add the heavy cream and whisk on high for 4 minutes.

Pipe buttercream onto cooled cupcakes and top with extra blueberries.

These really taste like blueberry pancakes. I couldn't resist trying one myself.
There were so many blueberries! And the maple buttercream ... OMG!
I really needed a cup of coffee to go with this cupcake ... but it was 9:00 at night and I had to get the boy to jazz band at 7:00, so I settled for a glass of milk.

The next morning the kids all loved them. When I brought them in the kids asked if they could quit early to have their snack. Mr. Mattsey, however, had other plans. 

Baking something new from scratch is always a little scary for me. I just love when it turns out. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Strawberry Filled Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

Wow! It's been weeks since my last post. Where has the time gone? Oh yeah ... I remember ... baseball games, track meets, prom, graduation, teaching, my internship ...

Even though I haven't posted in a while, I have still been baking. I just looked at my pictures and asked my husband which project I should blog about. There were the cupcakes I made for my son's birthday, the cupcakes I made for my other son to take to jazz band, the cupcakes I made for the teachers at school, the cupcakes I made for prom, and the cakes I made for a graduation party. So much to choose from ... which means several more posts to come.

So Craig told me that I should write about these little beauties ...
Strawberry Filled Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream
I had been asked to make four dozen cupcakes for the teachers with which I work. We used to have a principal that would bring in several cakes every Spring when we finished our state testing. He retired six years ago, but several of us old timers still remember the celebration cakes. In honor of him, I was asked to do the baking. I was flattered, so I made a dozen of four different kinds of cupcakes. 

Now, I really enjoy a rich, ooey, gooey chocolate cupcake, but these little babies were so refreshing that I kept choosing to eat one of these over the many chocolate ones I made. They were sooooo yummy.

Here's how I made them...

For the Vanilla Cupcake I modified Kakeladi's White Almond Sour Cream cake recipe:

1 box of vanilla cake mix
1 cup flour
1 cup granulated sugar
generous dash of salt
1 cup sour cream
1 cup water
3 whole eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla

Mix everything together. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake at 350 for 19 minutes. Makes about 36 cupcakes.

I got the Strawberry Filling recipe from Baked Perfection

1 32-oz container of frozen strawberries packed in syrup, thawed
Juice of one lemon
3 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of salt

Drain strawberries, reserving the liquid. Add enough water to liquid to equal 1 cup (I had enough syrup after thawing and didn't need to add water). In a large saucepan, combine the strawberry liquid, lemon juice, corstarch, and salt. Heat and stir until the mixture boils and thickens. Cool completely. Stir strawberries into the cooled mixture. Refrigerate until ready to use.

I also got the Strawberry Buttercream recipe from Baked Perfection.

2 sticks butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup strawberry filling (strawberry jam or preserves can be substituted)
pinch of salt
6 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp milk

Beat butter and vanilla until creamy. Mix in strawberry filling and salt. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until combined. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency.

Now comes the fun part ... assembling the cupcakes.

I started by cutting cone shaped cores out of the center and placed them next to each cupcake.

Next, I filled each cupcake with a spoonful of the filling. I then cut the top off each cone and placed it back on top like a lid over the filling.

After filling all of the cupcakes, I used a 1M tip to make a pretty rose swirl on top of each cupcake. The tip occasionally got clogged up by the bits of strawberry filling in the buttercream, but I was able to clear it out with a toothpick.

Did I mention how refreshing this cupcakes is? It almost tastes like strawberry shortcake. Yum!

I took the cupcakes to the teachers' lounge during lunch. I had several people tell me that this was their new favorite cupcake. The filling is good on its own as well. My son wandered into the kitchen while I was cleaning up and ate the rest of the filling right out of the bowl. I wonder how it would taste on ice cream?