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Creative Cupcake Ideas: Gourmet Cupcakes to Die For
 

Creative Cupcake Ideas: Gourmet Cupcakes to Die For

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Cupcakes are one of my favorite desserts, but not just any cupcakes - I love gourmet cupcakes. These are the cupcakes dripping in chocolate, topped with pillows of fluffy frosting, or drizzled with ...

Cupcakes are one of my favorite desserts, but not just any cupcakes - I love gourmet cupcakes. These are the cupcakes dripping in chocolate, topped with pillows of fluffy frosting, or drizzled with caramel sauce. In this E-Book, we've got tons of our best recipes for you to try, along with our favorite baking and decorating tricks.

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    Creative Cupcake Ideas: Gourmet Cupcakes to Die For Creative Cupcake Ideas: Gourmet Cupcakes to Die For Document Transcript

    • FREE Kitchen Library! Get 30 how-to recipe e-books for free! No cost. No obligation. Get these five e-books immediately—plus a new book every week for 25 weeks. Everything from soup to chocolate to cupcakes. Professional recipes and techniques from the test kitchen of The Prepared Pantry. Get HOW TO BAKE: The Art and Science of Baking with over 200 pages plus . . . • A BAKER’S GUIDE TO CHOCOLATE • A POPCORN HANDBOOK Recipes & Tips for Great Candy Popcorn • BAKING IN YOUR SKILLET A Collection of Skillet Recipes • HOW TO MAKE CHOWDER A Chef’s Guide to Making Chowder NO COST. NO OBLIGATION. Immediate download. Plus get a new e-book every Thursday for 25 weeks. Again, there’s NO COST, NO OBLIGATION.. If you don’t love them, cancel, and keep your five free e-books. JUST TELL US where to send your 30 e-books First Name * Last Name * Email * PLEASE CLICK THE GREY SUBMIT BUTTON BELOW TO RECEIVE YOUR EBOOKS Submit
    • Creative Cupcake Ideas “These are dessert cupcakes, not craft cupcakes—good enough to take to a dinner party and easy enough for anyone to make. You’ll find filled cupcakes, ice cream cupcakes, maple bacon cupcakes, and more.”
    • Table of Contents: Discovering Dessert Cupcakes................................................................................... 3 How to Frost a Cupcake like a Pro............................................................................ 4 Recommended Premade Frostings.............................................................................. 4 Five Essential Frosting Recipes for Cupcake Lovers................................................... 5 Basic Buttercream Frosting………………………………………………………………….............. 5 Chocolate Buttercream Frosting……………………………………………………………............. 6 Best Fudge Frosting………………………………………………………………………..................... 6 Cream Cheese Frosting……………………………………………………………………................... 7 Browned Butter Frosting……………………………………………………………………................ 7 How to Fill Cupcakes.................................................................................................... 8 Filling a Cupcake Afer you Frost It.............................................................................. 9 Lemon Cream Cupcakes............................................................................................. 10 Black Forest Cupcakes................................................................................................ 10 Eggnog Cupcakes........................................................................................................ 11 Caramel Apple Pie Filled Cupcakes............................................................................ 12 Chunky Monkey Banana Cupcakes............................................................................ 13 Pineapple Ginger Cupcakes........................................................................................ 14 Banana Pudding Cupcakes......................................................................................... 15 Chocolate Raspberry Buttercream Cupcakes............................................................. 15 Ice Cream Filled Cupcakes........................................................................................ 16 Drumstick Ice Cream Cupcakes................................................................................. 16 Dreamsicle Ice Cream Cupcakes................................................................................ 18 Root Beer Float Cupcakes.......................................................................................... 18 Eskimo Pie Ice Cream Cupcaks.................................................................................. 19 Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream Cupcakes...................................................................... 20 Peanut Butter Brownie Sundaes in a Cone................................................................ 21 Chocolate Coated Cupcakes...................................................................................... 22 Two Ways to Coat Cupcakes in Chocolate................................................................. 22 Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes...................................................................................... 24 Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Cupcakes................................................................ 25 Grandpa Grumpy Cupcakes....................................................................................... 26 Chocolate Covered Caramel Apple Cupcakes............................................................ 27 Other Gourmet Cupcakes.......................................................................................... 28 How to Make Cupcake Sandwiches........................................................................... 28 Sticky Toffee Cupcakes............................................................................................... 29 Banana Sticy Toffee Cupcakes................................................................................... 30 Luscious Lingonberry Cupcakes................................................................................ 31 Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting......................................... 32 Maple Bacon Cupcakes.............................................................................................. 33 Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes..................................................................................... 34 What You’ll Need: A Buyer’s Guide........................................................................ 36 Copyright 2013, The Prepared Pantry. All rights reserved. The material herein is published by The Prepared Pantry for the private use of individuals and may not be used for commercial purposes without the express consent of the publisher. The information contained herein is believed accurate but the publisher makes no warranties, express or implied, and the recipient is using this information at his or her own risk.
    • Discovering Dessert Cupcakes I grew up in simpler times--or maybe a simpler place. It was a little one-service-station town in the West where everyone knew everyone. When you became a teenager, you went to work for a farmer. In between, you helped around the home. My mother had no daughters except for a distant caboose and I was the oldest. Somehow, I was the one to help Mother in the kitchen. I remember mixing cakes by hand. She showed me how to beat the batter by hand with overhand strokes: 1, 2, 3, 4 . . . until I reached 200. Two hundred seemed like forever. Cakes were usually for special occasions—an extended family party, a birthday, or maybe Sunday dinner. Sunday dinners were special occasions. If it was for a birthday, it was a layer cake or else it was a cake baked in a 9 x13-inch pan with a layer of frosting added. Occasionally, we made cupcakes. The cupcakes were not exciting, individual servings made with the same batter and same frosting as the sheet cakes. They weren’t that exciting though it was fun to stick candles in the centers for a birthday. Somewhere along the line, I discovered that cupcakes could be luscious desserts, not just a round of cake with frosting on top. Cupcakes could hide chips or pieces of candy, they could be filled, and they could be frosted with fancy frostings and then topped some more. A cupcake filled with Bavarian cream and with a swirl of ganache was no longer a novelty but a dessert fit for guests. That’s what this book is about—luscious dessert cupcakes. We’re concerned much more with taste than being fancy though they are certainly attractive. They are usually a marriage of a better-than-most cake, a filling, and the best frosting. You’ll learn how to fill cupcakes with everything from ice cream to marshmallow cream. You’ll learn to make ice cream cupcakes. You’ll learn how to make chocolate coated cupcakes and other creative cupcakes. I think you’ll enjoy learning how to make these luscious dessert cupcakes. Your family and friends will certainly enjoy eating them. Happy baking. 3
    • How to Frost a Cupcake like a Pro Recommended Premade Frostings Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Mix: Makes light, fluffy buttercream frosting just like the professional bakeries. Frosting is delicious and fun; it allows for creativity and flavor experimentation. But frosting can also make or break your cupcakes. That’s why we’ve started this book with learning to use frostings like the pros. About Stabilizers: Most whipped frostings need to be stabilized, including four out of five of these. Powdered sugar contains starch and therefore stabilizes. Additionally, we use the same stabilizers that we use for whipped cream: meringue powder and cream cheese. About Whipped Cream in Frostings: One of the frostings on this list, the cream cheese frosting has a substantial amount of heavy whipping cream. Often you will see a recipe with a little whipping cream, enough to hydrate the powdered sugar. It adds a little more fat, usually not significant compared to the fat from the butter or cream cheese in the recipe. In other recipes, there is much more whipping cream, far more than that required to hydrate the powdered sugar. These frostings must be well whipped, almost like you are making whipped cream. Enough air must be beat into the cream to make a fluffy solid. If you don’t beat these frostings enough, they’ll be a soggy mess. 4 Sweet Sensations Buttercream Frosting Base: With this base, you don’t have to be a pro to make professional buttercream frosting. Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Mix: It is made with gourmet Ramstadt Breda cocoa for the best chocolate frosting Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting Mix: It has the perfect color of pink and a ton of raspberry flavor. Original Cream Cheese Frosting Mix: This mix gives you results that can be as good as any homemade frosting. Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting Mix: The cream cheese and chocolate makes this a rich frosting. Caramel Whipped Cream Base: If you want people to go nuts over your desserts, top them with caramel whipped cream. Wilton Creamy White Buttercream Icing Mix: This convenient mix has the delicious taste and creamy texture of homemade buttercream icing. Sweet Sensations Salted Caramel Premium Glossy Frosting: The taste and silky smooth texture of this caramel frosting is great! Sweet Sensations Chocolate Fudge Premium Glossy Frosting: This is a satiny smooth cooked frosting without a hint of powdered sugar. It’s attractive and delicious.
    • Five Essential Frostings for Cupcake Lovers We’ve compiled a list of “go to” frosting recipies that are great for every cupcake. The first is your Basic Buttercream Frosting. Buttercream frosting is made with shortening or butter or a combination of both. Then there’s our Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, which similar to the Basic Buttercream Frosting but with plenty of choclate. Next is our Fudge Frosting. Usually fugde frostings are heavy and gooey, but this one is light while still maintaining that fudgy goodness. The fourth frosting recipe is a Light and Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting. This recipe combines fluffy whipped cream with cream cheese to create a delicious topping for any cupcake. Last is our Browned Butter Frosting. This is not a basic frosting, but we’re in love with this melt-in-your-mouth frosting. It’s too good not to include! Basic Buttercream Frosting Use this on cakes and cupcakes. It can be piped or spread. Add color and flavor to it to fit your project. We use Americolor color gels and Marsden and Bathe flavors. This buttercream frosting is stable in all but the warmest weather. Buttercream frosting is made with shortening or butter or a combination of both. This recipe has a high percentage of butter for flavor. Butter has a lower melting point than shortening and so a stabilizer is required. Butter also tints the frosting to off-white. If you want a pure white frosting, you will need to go to all shortening or add white food color. You can buy white vanilla so that the vanilla does not tint your frosting. Ingredients 1 cup butter, softened 2/3 cup shortening 1 pound powdered sugar 2 tablespoons meringue powder 1 teaspoon flavor or extract of your choice a couple tablespoons of milk as needed for consistency optional food color gel Directions 1. With the paddle attachment and your stand-type mixer, beat the butter, shortening, powdered sugar, and meringue powder together. 2. Add the flavor and color. Beat the frosting, adding enough milk to reach the desired consistency. Baker’s note: Apply your buttercream frosting at room temperature. You can spread on a thick coating of frosting with a spatula or pipe it on with a pastry bag and either a star tip or a round tip. Your frosting may be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. 5
    • Chocolate Buttercream Frosting This is the sister recipe to our basic buttercream recipe. It is perfect for cakes and cupcakes. Ingredients 1 cup butter, softened 2/3 cup shortening 1 pound powdered sugar 2 tablespoons meringue powder 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup dark chocolate chips or dark chocolate wafers milk as needed for consistency Directions 1. With the paddle attachment and your stand-type mixer, beat the butter, shortening, powdered sugar, and meringue powder together. Add the vanilla. 2. Beat the frosting, adding enough milk to reach just to reach a stiff consistency. 3. Melt the chocolate and let it cool slightly. (If the chocolate is too cool, it will solidify before combining with the frosting.) Mix the chocolate into about one-fourth of the frosting. 4. Combine the chocolate frosting with the rest of the frosting. Add more milk, if necessary, to reach the desired consistency. 6 Best Fudge Frosting This is great light frosting. It is a whipped frosting stabilized with the starch in the cocoa and in the powdered sugar plus meringue powder. If your cake or cupcakes are going to be in a warm room, add another tablespoon or two of meringue powder. This is stable enough to be piped but can be spread. Ingredients 1 cup (2 cubes) butter, softened 3/4 cup Ramstadt Breda Medium Dark Cocoa or equal 5 cups powdered sugar 2 tablespoons meringue powder 1 cup whipping cream 1/2 cup light corn syrup Directions 1. Whip the butter in your stand type mixer with a whip attachment. Add the cocoa and meringue powder and whip until smooth. 2. Add the powdered sugar, whipping cream, and corn syrup. Whip until fluffy.
    • Cream Cheese Frosting for Cupcakes We make a Light and Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting that is our “go to” frosting for pumpkin squares, carrot cake, zucchini bars, and snacking cakes. It’s too light to hold up well on a cupcake so we revised it to make it a little more stable. Still with this much whipping cream in the frosting, it is more light and fluffy than most cream cheese frostings. Because it has so much whipping cream you must beat the frosting hard to incorporate air into the whipping cream and make it firm. Use the whip attachment on your stand-type mixer and beat it at medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy. Ingredients 4 oz. of cream cheese (1/2 of an eightounce block), softened 1/2 cup granulated sugar 2 cups powdered sugar pinch of salt 2 tablespoons meringue powder 1 cup heavy whipping cream 1 teaspoon vanilla Directions Browned Butter Frosting This may not be a basic frosting but it is so good, I just had to include it. The butter is browned on the stove top before the sugar is added. Spread this frosting. Ingredients 3/4 cup butter 3 cups powdered sugar 1 teaspoon butterscotch flavor 3-4 tablespoons milk as needed to reach the right consistency Directions 1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan until it has started to brown. Watch it closely. It should be just amber in color, not dark brown. 2. Let the browned butter cool for a few minutes then pour the clearer liquid off the top into a small bowl leaving the dark solids and a little liquid in the pan. Place the browned butter in the refrigerator to cool for about an hour. It should cool to a gel. 3. Add the flavor and browned butter to the powdered sugar in a large bowl. Whip with an electric mixer. Thin with additions of milk as needed. 1. Cream the granulated sugar with the cream cheese. Add the other ingredients and beat until light and fluffy. 7
    • How to Fill Cupcakes You can use the cupcake corer just as you did with ice cream. You’ll want to cover the filling with a piece of the cake plug. Filling Cupcakes with Sauce: A while ago, we made our sticky toffee cupcakes. We filled them with toffee sauce and they were incredible. We make a lot of cupcakes and we make them for taste, not for show, so they’re not hard and they’re nearly always filled. Here are the different types of fillings we use, and how to use them yourself. Bavarian Cream and Other Pastry Fillings: Use premade fillings in dispenser bags. Just clip the corner, insert the clipped corner into the cupcake, and squeeze. There’s no need to core the cupcakes or even cut slits. As you squeeze filling into a cupcake, it will begin to swell and get heavier. If you squeeze too much, cracks will start to develop around the hole. It’s okay—you’ll cover it with frosting anyway. After two or three cupcakes, you’ll have a sense of how much to squeeze. Pudding, Whipped Cream, and Marshmallow Cream: You can use a cupcake corer or a pastry bag to fill cupcakes. I would use a pastry bag; it’s quicker. Equip it with a star tip or a longer narrow tip, fill the bag, stick the tip into each cupcake and squeeze. The hole will be small and you’ll cover it with frosting. 8 We had never filled cupcakes with a liquid, even a thick liquid. It worked well with the sticky toffee cupcakes because the cake was fairly dense and moist. Would it work in other applications? We set off to make Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Cupcakes and fill them with a fudgy ice cream topping. We used a cream cake mix, our Very Fudgy Baby Cake Mix. This cake is denser than the light and airy cakes made from box cakes in the grocery store. It’s about half way to a pound cake. We wanted to see if the cream cake would hold the sauce without leaking or coming apart and it worked.
    • Filling a Cupcake After You Frost it We learned something new the other day: we learned that we could fill cupcakes after they are frosted. That’s counter-intuitive. We think of frosting as the decoration and the thing that goes on very last, but the last step can actually be the filling therefore becoming part of the decorations. It’s not only easy, it’s very quick. We wanted to try one more test—filling store bought mixes. We bought mixes at the grocery store and made cupcakes, filled them with ice cream sauce, and set them aside to see what they would be like the next day. We expected them to be soggy. They weren’t. At the same time, we made sticky toffee pudding cupcakes and set them aside for 24 hours. The toffee sauce is much thinner than the ice cream topping. As moist and dense as sticky toffee pudding cake is, the cake was a bit soggy after 24 hours. The conclusion is that thick sauces will work in both cream cake mixes and the lighter mixes from the store. (We’re biased; we like the cream cake mixes.) Some thinner sauces are okay if you are going to use the cupcakes within a few hours and probably won’t work at all with light airy box mixes. Here’s how. You will need a bag of premade pastry filling or a pastry bag equipped with a star or round tip. 1. Cut a 1/4 inch corner from a bag of premade pastry filling or fill your pastry bag. 2. Make and frost your cupcakes. 3. Stick the tip of the pastry bag through the top of the cupcake, right through the frosting, to the center of the cupcake and squeeze to fill the cupcake just as you would do with a cupcake that is not frosted. 4. As you withdraw the tip, put a little swirl of filling on top to hide the hole. That’s all there is too it. You have a cute little circle of filling poking through the frosting. And you have a new way to make and fill cupcakes. You can use this technique with almost any filled cupcakes. You can use pastry fillings or puddings. Look at all the possibilities matching fillings to cakes to frostings. It’s no wonder that we rarely make cupcakes without filling them. You’ll do the same. 9
    • Lemon Cream Cupcakes Black Forest Cupcakes These are wonderful creamy cupcakes with a bright, lemon flavor. The cake is lemon, the filling is lemon, the frosting is a lemon cream cheese frosting, and it’s topped with lemon bark. Black Forest is a mixture of chocolate and cherry. We used a boxed cake mix and filled the cupcakes with cherry pastry filling. We then used a chocolate buttercream frosting mix and added a teaspoon of cherry flavoring. We sprinkled the cupcakes with Black Forest bark topping. This is a great frosting for lemon lovers. It’s a creamy frosting made with cream cheese that packs a lot of flavor. It works well with a pastry bag. No cooking is required. Ingredients Boxed Lemon Cake mix Lemon Pastry Filling 6 ounces cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup (one stick) butter, softened 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar Zest from one lemon Lemon bark Directions 1. Bake cake mix as directed and let cool on wire rack. 2. Snip a quarter-inch corner off the 2 lb. pastry bag. Insert the snipped corner into the top of a cupcake. Squeeze to fill the center of the cupcake. 3. Beat cream cheese, butter, and lemon juice together with an electric mixer. 4. Add three cups powdered sugar and beat until well mixed and fluffy. Add more as necessary to reach the desired consistency. Add the zest. 5. Decorate the frosted cupcakes with lemon bark topping. 6. Frost onto the cupcakes using a pastry bag with a star tip. 10 Ingredients Very Fudgy Baby Cakes Cake Mix or equivalent Cherry Pastry Filling Chocolate Buttercream Frosting 1 teaspoon Cherry Flavoring Black Forest bark Directions 1. Make a batch of chocolate cupcakes with a boxed cake mix such as our. Let them cool on a rack. 2. Snip a quarter-inch corner off the 2 lb. pastry bag. Insert the snipped corner into the top of a cupcake. Squeeze to fill the center of the cupcake. 3. Spread a thin layer of cherry pastry filling on the tops of the cupcakes. 4. Make the chocolate buttercream frosting recipe found earlier in this book, or use your favorite chocolate buttercream frosting. Add a teaspoon of cherry flavoring. 5. Frost the cupcakes. Decorate with black forest bark topping or other decorations.
    • Eggnog Cupcakes We used our Vanilla Bean Baby Cakes cake mix and added eggnog to both the mix and the frosting. Pretty simple. Could you use a white cake mix from the store? I think so but I don’t think those mixes would work quite as well. Most of them are really light and airy, not much substance. The frosting and the cream filling tends to overwhelm the light cake—not enough balance. The baby cakes mix is a cream cake mix, denser and moister so you get more cake in each bite. I don’t think the store mixes would be bad though. If you go that way, reduce the amount of frosting and filling that you use. This mix makes 18 cupcakes. You’ll have frosting and Bavarian cream left over for your next project. Ingredients Vanilla Bean Baby Cakes Cake Mix or equivalent 1/2 cup eggnog 4 teaspoons Butter Rum flavor 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg Bavarian Crème Pastry Filling Sweet Sensations Buttercream Frosting Base or equivalent Eggnog, enough to replace water in frosting recipe 2 teaspoons Butter Rum flavor 1 teaspoon cinnamon Directions 1. Make the cake mix per directions except substitute eggnog for water. Add the butter rum flavor and nutmeg. Bake as directed. 2. Cut a 1/4-inch corner off the dispenser pack of pastry filling. Insert the cut corner into the center of the cupcake to a depth of about 1/2-inch. 3. Squeeze the dispenser bag so that the Bavarian cream flows from the bag into the cupcake. You will feel the cupcake swell and get heavier. Store your leftover filling in the refrigerator. 4. Make the frosting per the directions on the package but substitute eggnog for the water. Add the butter rum flavor and nutmeg. 5. Frost the cupcakes with a pastry bag or spread a thick layer of frosting on the cupcakes with knife. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon or nutmeg as a garnish if desired. 11
    • Caramel Apple Pie Filled Cupcakes Directions 1. Use our Vanilla Baby Cakes cake mix. Mix and bake according to package directions. Add 1-1/2 teaspoons of good quality cinnamon. 2. Clip a corner on the two-pound pack of apple pie filling and squeeze about 1/3 ounce through the top of each baked cupcake. If you use apple pie filling, load a pastry bag equipped with a star tip. 3. Make the frosting with butter, not shortening. Add the caramel flavor to taste. These are scrumptious, filled cupcakes with an apple pie filling or apple pastry filling. (We recommend apple pastry filling.A pastry filling is more concentrated, has more flavor, and a little pastry filling balances better in a cupcake.) It’s topped with caramel frosting. Ingredients Vanilla Bean Baby Cake Mix or equivalent 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon Apple pastry filling or Apple Pie filling Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Mix or equivalent 1 1/2 teaspoons Caramel flavor 12 4. After the cupcakes are baked, frost them with the caramel buttercream frosting. 5. Use the premade pastry filling or apple pie filling and fill the cupcakes. Press the end of the bag or a star tip through the frosting to the center of each cupcake and squeeze to deposit the filling. As you pull the tip from the cupcake, put a little swirled of filling on top of the cup covering the hole. 6. Garnish your filled cupcakes with chopped nuts or a drizzle of cinnamon or caramel sauce.
    • Chunky Monkey Cupcakes These cupcakes are incredible! Bananas, chocolate chips and walnuts all in one cupcake with banana Bavarian crème filling and banana frosting. Practically banana everything. The chocolate chips and walnuts make them chunky and the bananas make them monkey inspired. These cupcakes are out of this world! Make them today. You won’t regret it. Ingredients Vanilla Bean Baby Cake Mix or equivalent 1 teaspoon baking powder 2. Fold in the chocolate pieces and walnuts. 3 large eggs 1 cup mashed banana 3. Scrape the batter into paper liners in a muffin pan. You should get 18 to 20 regular-sized cupcakes. 1 1/2 teaspoons Banana flavor 4. Bake for 17 minutes or until done. 2/3 cup walnut pieces 5. Mix the Bavrian crean and mashed bananas until well combined. Put the filling into a pastry bag with a star tip. Insert the tip into the cupcake and squeeze about 1/3 ounce of filling into it. 1/2 cup oil 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips 1 cup Bavarian Cream pastry filling 1/3 cup mashed bananas 1 teaspoon Banana flavor 1 cup butter 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar 2 tablespoons meringue powder 4 tablespoons milk or cream, more or less to reach the right consistency Directions 6. Mix banana flavor, butter, powdered sugar, meringue powder, and milk or cream until well combined and a whipped frosting consistency. 7. Pipe the frosting onto each cupcake using a pastry bag with a star tip. Sprinkle with chopped walnut pieces if desired. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. 1. Mix the cake mix, baking powder, eggs, oil, bananas, and banana flavor together in your stand-type mixer with the paddle attachment until mixed. Turn the mixer to medium-high and beat for three minutes. 13
    • Pineapple Ginger Cupcakes Directions 1. Mix and bake the cupcakes according to package directions adding the candied ginger, ground ginger and cinnamon. 2. Snip off tip of one filling bag, insert it into the baked cupcake, and squeeze a small amount into it. Repeat with other filling. These are made with ginger spice cupcakes, pineapple and cream cheese pastry filling, and a pineapple cream cheese frosting or ginger buttercream frosting. Ingredients Vanilla Bean Baby Cake Mix or equivalent 1/2 cup Candied Ginger pieces 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon Cream Cheese pastry filling Pineapple pastry filling 1/2 cup Buttercream frosting base 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup boiling water 1 pound powdered sugar (as needed) 1 cup softened butter 1 8-ounce package cream cheese 1 teaspoon pineapple flavor Lemon Yellow Americolor food coloring gel or equal 14 3. Add sugar to hot water and stir until dissolved. Add frosting base and whip with whisk attachment until peaks form. Add powdered sugar and beat until completely blended. Add butter and cream cheese and whip until well blended. Add more powdered sugar to reach desired consistency. Squeeze a few drops of food coloring into frosting and beat until uniform. Pipe onto cupcakes. 4. Fill each cupcake with a little cream cheese filling and then a little pineapple filling. Make either the pineapple or ginger frosting and pipe onto each cupcake. Baker’s note: For ginger butter cream frosting, make our basic buttercream frosting and add a 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.
    • Banana Pudding Cupcakes Chocolate Raspberry Buttercream Cupcakes Anyone who is a fan of bananas will love these cupcakes. They are made from a vanilla cake mix, filled with banana pudding, frosted with banana buttercream and topped with a fresh banana slice. To give the cupcake a little crunch, we placed a Nilla Wafer in the bottom of the cupcake tin before baking and then topped the completed cupcake with crushed Nilla Wafer pieces. Can you say “yum?” Ingredients Vanilla Baby Cake Mix or equivalent 1 teaspoon Banana flavor Nilla Wafers Instant banana pudding Basic Buttercream recipe 1/2 teaspoon Banana flavor Directions 1. Place one Nilla Wafer cookie in the bottom of each cupcake cup in the baking sheet. Pour batter on top and bake the cupcakes as directed on package adding the banana flavor before baking. 2. Make the pudding as directed on the package. Put into a piping bag with a star tip. Squeeze about 1/3 ounce through the top of each baked cupcake. 3. You can use our basic buttercream recipe found earlier in this book or use your favorite buttercream frosting recipe. Add the banana flavoring to taste. 4. Bake cupcakes and let cool on wire rack. Fill with the banana pudding. Pipe the banana buttercream frosting onto the cupcake using a star tip. Top with banana slice and crushed Nilla Wafer pieces. To prevent browning of the banana, be sure not to top the cupcake with the banana slice until ready to serve. This cupcake is definitely for raspberry lovers. It is made with a chocolate cake mix and chocolate chips added to the batter. Then we filled them with raspberry pastry filling, frosted them with vanilla raspberry buttercream and topped them off with a fresh raspberry. If you are a raspberry lover, then you will love these cupcakes. Ingredients Very Fudgy Baby Cake Mix or equivaltent 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips Raspberry pastry filling Buttercream frosting recipe 1/4 cup raspberries Directions 1. Bake the cupcakes as directed on the package, adding the chocolate chips before baking. 2. Clip a corner on the two-pound pack of filling and squeeze about 1/3 ounce through the top of each baked cupcake. 3. You can use our basic buttercream recipe found earlier in this book. Mix the raspberries into the buttercream until well combined. 4. Fill cupcakes with the raspberry filling. Pipe the raspberry buttercream onto the cupcake with a star tip. Top with a fresh raspberry. 15
    • Chapter 1 Chapter Title Ice Cream Filled Cupcakes Drumstick Cupcakes When I was a kid I loved to get these drumstick ice cream treats from the corner store. They were made with vanilla ice cream in a waffle cone with a coating of chopped peanuts and chocolate over the mound of ice cream. This is our version in a cupcake. We’ve been making ice cream cupcakes for several years now. They never fail to delight. Watch kids light up when they bite into cupcakes and find ice cream in the center. Watch the puzzled look on their parents’ faces when they try to figure how you got the ice cream inside. Whether its winter or summer, kids or adults, these cupcakes are always a hit. They’re pretty, unique, easy to serve, and refreshing. Heres how to turn your favorite cupcake into an ice cream filled cupcake in four easy steps. Step 1: Make the cupcakes according to package instructions or use your recipe from scratch. Step 2: Use an ice cream cupcake tool to cut a core from the cupcakes. The tool will cut a plug from each cupcake with a simple twist of the wrist. Unless you are making mini cupcakes, use the larger corer. Step 3: Fill them with ice cream. Use the cupcake tool to cut plugs from a block of ice cream just as you did with the cupcakes. Place the tip of the tool in each cupcake hole and press the plunger button. The plunger will insert the ice cream plug in the cupcakes. Step 4: Cover the holes with frosting and freeze them. That’s all there is to it. 16 The cake is a vanilla bean cream cake, denser than cupcakes made from store mi xes. The center is vanilla ice cream. It’s frosted with vanilla buttercream, then dipped in chocolate ganache, and rolled in chopped peanuts. Since it’s filled with ice cream, it must be kept frozen. If you don’t want to do that, you can fill the centers with Bavarian cream. Ingredients Vanilla Bean Baby Cake Mix or equivalent Vanilla Ice Cream Buttercream Frosting recipe Salted peanuts chopped into small pieces, about 1/8-inch. 1 cup heavy cream 1 teaspoon vanilla 8 ounces dark chocolate wafers or cut chocolate into pieces 4 tablespoons butter
    • Directions 1. Mix and bake cake mix according to package directions. 2. Use the ice cream cupcake tool. Use the larger diameter fitting and cut a plug out of each cupcake. Use the same fitting to cut the ice cream plugs and insert them into the cupcakes. 3. You can use our vanilla buttercream frosting mix, our basic buttercream recipe or a recipe of your choice. Make the frosting with butter, not shortening. Dipping the Frosting 4. Bring the cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted. Stir in the butter. Let the ganache cool until it reaches a desired thick consistency. You can heat it or cool it as needed. Method 2: You can pipe the frosting on with a star tip or to get pillowy mounds of frosting you can use a round tip on a pastry bag. Then dip the frosted part of the cupcake in ganache. 5. Use one of the three methods to frost the cupcakes and then roll the freshly frosted and dipped cupcakes in chopped nuts. Method 1: You can spread the frosting on with a knife and then dip it in the ganache, like pictured on the previous page. Method 3: Using an ice cream scoop, scoop a mound of frosting and place it on top of the cupcake. Dip the mound of frosting into the warm ganache and roll in chopped nuts. Baker’s note: If you prefer a thinner ganache you can add more cream. Once frosted and covered with nuts, be sure to keep your cupcakes frozen until you are ready to serve them. 17
    • Dreamsicle Cupcakes Root Beer Float Cupcakes If you like orange sherbet, you will love these cupcakes! They are an orange flavored cupcake made from a vanilla cake mix. Then we filled them with orange sherbet and topped them with orange and vanilla swirl frosting. They are to die for. Or should I say they are to “dream” for. This is our version of a root beer float made into a cupcake. Made with a vanilla cake mix, filled with root beer ice cream and frosted with vanilla and root beer swirled frosting, this cupcake will have your family begging for more, guaranteed. Ingredients Vanilla Baby Cake Mix or equivalent 1 teaspoon Orange flavor Orange Sherbet Buttercream Frosting recipe 1/4 teaspoon Orange flavor 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla flavor Directions 1. Mix and bake cupcakes according to package directions, adding the flavor into the batter. 2. Use an ice cream cupcake tool. Use the larger diameter fitting and cut a plug out of each cupcake. Use the same fitting to cut sherbet plugs and insert them into the cupcakes. 3. You can make our basic buttercream from earlier in this book or use your favorite buttercream recipe. Divide the frosting in half and put in separate bowls. Add the orange flavor to one bowl and the vanilla flavor to other bowl. Add more to taste if desired. Put both frostings into one piping bag, one flavor on each side of the bag, not one on top of the other. 4. Fill the cupcakes with orange sherbet. 5. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes with a star tip. Be sure to make the frosting have a swirl effect with the different flavors. Keep the cupcakes frozen until ready to serve. 18 Ingredients Vanilla Baby Cake Mix or equivalent Vanilla Ice Cream or Root Beer Ice Cream Buttercream Frosting recipe 1/4 teaspoon Root Beer flavor 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla flavor Directions 1. Mix and bake according to package directions. 2. Use an ice cream cupcake tool. Use the larger diameter fitting and cut a plug out of each cupcake. Use the same fitting to cut ice cream plugs and insert them into the cupcakes. 3. You can make our basic buttercream from earlier in this book or use your favorite buttercream frpsting recipe. Divide the frosting in half and put in separate bowls. Add the root beer flavoring to one bowl and the vanilla flavoring to other bowl. Add more to taste if desired. Put both frostings into one piping bag, one flavor on each side of the bag, not one on top of the other. 4. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes with a star tip. Be sure to make the frosting have a swirl effect with the different flavors. Keep the cupcakes frozen until ready to serve.
    • Eskimo Pie Cupcakes Directions 1. Mix and bake cupcakes according to package directions. 2. Use an ice cream cupcake tool. Use the larger diameter fitting and cut a plug out of each cupcake. Use the same fitting to cut ice cream plugs and insert them into the cupcakes. 3. You can make our basic buttercream from earlier in this book or use your favorite buttercream frosting recipe. Add the vanilla flavoring (add more to taste if desired). If you’re a fan of those delicious Eskimo Pies, also known as “Fat Boys,” then you are in for a real treat. These cupcakes are made from a chocolate cake mix, filled with vanilla ice cream, frosted with vanilla buttercream and dipped in rich chocolate ganache. Ingredients Very Fudgy Baby Cake Mix or equivalent Vanilla Ice Cream Buttercream Frosting recipe 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla flavor 1 cup heavy cream 1 teaspoon vanilla 8 ounces dark chocolate wafers or chocolate cut into pieces 4. Bring the cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted. Stir in the butter. Let the ganache cool until it reaches a desired thick consistency. You can heat it or cool it as needved. 5. Frost the cupcakes. You can either pipe your frosting onto your cupcakes or spread the frosting on with a knife. If you spread it on, make it thick. To get pillowy mounds of frosting, use a round tip on a pastry bag, not a star tip. Dip the frosted cupcake tops in the warm chocolate ganache. Keep the cupcakes frozen until ready to serve. 4 tablespoons butter 19 19
    • Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream Cupcakes Directions 1. Mix and bake cupcakes according to package directions. 2. Use an ice cream cupcake tool. Use the larger diameter fitting and cut a plug out of each cupcake. Use the same fitting to cut ice cream plugs and insert them into the cupcakes. These are a takeoff of our Grumpy Cupcakes that were such a hit in the store. These are chocolate cupcakes with a cherry ice cream filling, a puddle of cherry filling on top, and a splash of chocolate ganache over the cherry. Ingredients Very Fudgy Baby Cake Mix or equivalent Cherry Cordial Ice Cream Cherry pastry filling or Cherry Pie filling 1 cup heavy cream 1 teaspoon vanilla 8 ounces dark chocolate wafers or chocolate cut into pieces 4 tablespoons butter 20 3. Bring the cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted. Stir in the butter. Let the ganache cool until it reaches a desired thick consistency. You can heat it or cool it as needed. 4. Place a scoop of cherry pastry filling on top and spread it to within a half inch of the edges of the cupcake. 5. Place another scoop of chocolate ganache over the cherry filling. The ganache should be viscous enough that it runs to edges with little dripping off the cupcakes. Be sure to put the cupcakes in the freezer until ready to serve. Variation You can make these cupcakes without the ice cream if you’d like. All you have to do if replace the ice cream filling with cherry or cream cheese pastry filling. This way, freezing the cupcakes after assembly is not required.
    • Peanut Butter Brownie Sundaes in a Cone One of our readers wrote and asked if the peanut butter brownie cupcake recipe could be baked in an ice cream cone. Very nice idea. So we whipped up a batch and it worked perfectly. We think this would be a great idea for a birthday party or for the kids at the next family reunion. And this is such an easy recipe, you can whip up a batch of cones in no time. Ingredients 12 flat bottomed ice cream cones 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 1/4 cup butter 3/4 cup granulated sugar 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 cup all-purpose flour Peanut butter Ice cream Cake decorations Directions 4. Stir the sugar into the chocolate mixture. Stir the eggs and vanilla into the mixture. Stir in the flour. 5. Fill the ice cream cone cups about three fourths full of batter. Put a teaspoon of peanut butter in the center of each. 6. Bake for 20 to 24 minutes depending on the size of the cone. A toothpick should still have gooey crumbs on it if tested. 7. When completely cooled, put a scoop of ice cream in the tops of the cups. Sprinkle the ice cream with cake decorations of your choice. Store in the freezer until ready to serve. 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 2. Wrap each cone in aluminum foil and place them in a muffin tin. 3. In a medium bowl, melt the chocolate and butter together in the microwave, stirring as needed. 21
    • Chocolate Coated Cupcakes Two Ways to Coat Cupcakes in Chocolate Chocolate ganache is incredible. It’s made with cream, butter, and chocolate. With ingredients like that, no wonder it tastes great. It’s quick and simple to make. These are really luscious. It takes a few minutes for the dipping but they’re worth it. You can put a coating of chocolate over just about any cupcake, even frosted ones. You simply dip the cupcakes, upside down, in chocolate to cover the tops. As soft as buttercream frosting is, you can dip buttercream frosted cupcakes in chocolate. In fact, they’re the best. While the chocolate is still soft, you can sprinkle on chopped nuts or candies. So you can take your favorite cupcakes—say chocolate cherry cupcakes or the eggnog cupcakes found in this book—and coat them with chocolate. Recently we made chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and dipped them in chocolate. Then we made chocolate cherry cheesecake cupcakes and dipped them in chocolate. Then we made peanut butter cupcakes and dipped them in chocolate and topped them with chopped peanuts. You get the idea. 22 Use this recipe and a good quality chocolate to make the ganache. We recommend wafers, not chips, since wafers are made with a better chocolate and are of candy-making quality. The following recipe will yield a thick, paste like ganache. You may thin your ganache with more cream or warm it slightly to make it more viscous. Don’t get it too warm or it will melt the frosting. The thinner the chocolate, the thinner the coating. If you want a thick coating of chocolate—as we do—you want the chocolate as a thick sauce. If the coating is too thin, you can dip them a second time.
    • Chocolate Ganache We use this chocolate ganache recipe for most of our chocolate coated cupcakes. Use this recipe and a good quality of chocolate. We recommend wafers, not chips, since wafers are made with a better chocolate and are of candymaking quality. You may thin your ganache with more cream. You will need: 1 cup heavy cream 1 teaspoon vanilla 8 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate, cut into pieces 4 tablespoons butter Bring the cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted. Stir in the butter. Let the ganache cool until it reaches a desired thick consistency. You can heat it or cool it as needed to get a thick coating. A chocolate pot is my preferred way for quick and simple dipping. There is no fuel to mess with; just plug the pot into an outlet. There is a setting for melting and setting for keeping the chocolate warm for dipping. Simple. About that really good chocolate—use wafers, not chips. Wafers are made for candy, not for cookies. Wafers are smoother and richer with a finer grind and more cocoa butter. Chips are for cookies, not dipping. To dip the cupcakes: Once your ganache cools to the proper consistency, dip the frosted cupcakes in the ganache. You want a thick coat, thick enough the frosting does not show through. If it does, wait a minute and then dip them a second time. Then let the ganache cool a bit so that it is not so thin. Put a generous coating of chocolate on the cupcakes. Coating with melted chocolate will create a hard coating on your cupcakes while the coating made with ganache will be softer. The Second Way to Coat Cupckaes in Chocoalte Dip your cupcakes in melted chocolate. I prefer dark chocolate but milk chocolate works too. You can heat chocolate in the microwave if you are careful not to overheat it but a fondue pot or chocolate pot is better. Either will heat the chocolate gently and will keep it warm for continued dipping. 23
    • Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes These are big boy cupcakes—though your kids will love them too. They are made like a Boston Cream Pie: yellow cake, vanilla cream, and fudgy topping. Ingredients White or Yellow Cake Mix Bavarian Cream pastry filling or vanilla cream filling Chocoalte ganache Directions 1. Mix and bake cupcakes as directed on package. 2. Put the filling into a pastry bag with a star tip. Insert the tip into the cupcake and squeeze about 1/3 ounce of filling into it. Or just cut the tip off the Bavarian Cream packet and fill cupcakes. 24 3. Use the ganache recipe at the beginning of this section. For Boston Cream Pies, you want the ganache thin enough to drizzle down the sides but thick enough to pile up a little. 4. You can let the ganache cool in the refrigerator and then beat it with a handheld electric mixer until it is soft and smooth and frosting-like. This puts a thicker frosting on the cupcake. 5. Another option is to double dip the cupcakes in the warm ganache. This makes them look a little prettier but it won’t be as thick.
    • Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Cupcakes Directions 1. Mix and bake cupcakes according to package directions. 2. Clip a corner on the two-pound pack and squeeze about 1/3 ounce through the top of each baked cupcake. 3. You can use our vanilla buttercream frosting mix, our basic buttercream recipe earlier in this book, or a recipe of your choice. Make the frosting with butter, not shortening. Did you know that you can make ganache with peanut butter? You can! And since ganache is easy, this is an easy topping. This peanut butter ganache recipe is made just like our chocolate ganache, with just a few minor modifications. We added chopped pretzels as a coating. The pretzels created a spark of salt and crunch (I thought we needed more pretzel pieces but both Kelli, in the kitchen, and Leslie, from Production, said it was just right). Ingredients Vanilla Bean Baby Cake Mix or equivalent 4. Bring the cream to a boil. Remove from the heat. In a medium bowl, pour the hot cream over the chocolate and peanut butter. Stir until melted. Let the ganache cool until it reaches a desired thick consistency. You can heat it or cool it as needed to get a thick coating. 5. Frost the cupcakes. To get the pillowy mounds of frosting, we use a round tip on a pastry bag, not a star tip, to apply the frosting. 6. Dip the frosted tops in the peanut butter ganache. The ganache should be cool enough so that you get a generous coating of ganache on the cupcake and so that it just barely starts to melt the frosting. Sprinkle the frosted and chocolate coated tops with pretzel pieces. Chocolate Bavarian Cream pastry filling Buttercream Frosting recipe 1 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup peanut butter 8 ounces dark chocolate wafers or chocolate cut into pieces 25
    • Grandpa Grumpy Cupcakes Directions 1. Mix and bake cupcakes according to package directions. 2. Clip a corner on the two-pound pack and squeeze about 1/3 ounce through the top of each baked cupcake. 3. You can use our vanilla buttercream frosting mix, our basic buttercream recipe from earlier in this book or a recipe of your choice. Make the frosting with butter, not shortening. 4. Use the ganache recipe at the beginning of this section. Grumpy Cupcakes are the creation of the Just Baked bakery chain in Michigan. Our version is made with a moist cream cake cupcake filled with Bavarian cream and frosted with a buttercream frosting. Then the top of the cupcake is dipped in ganache made with gourmet chocolate. The ganache melts the buttercream just a bit to make pillowy mounds of chocolate covered buttercream. There is also a version made with ice cream in the “Ice Cream Filled Cupcakes” section of this book. Ingredients Very Fudgy Baby Cake Mix or equivalent Bavarian Cream pastry filling Vanilla Buttercream frosting recipe Chocoalte Ganache recipe 26 5. Frost the cupcakes. To get the pillowy mounds of frosting, we use a round tip on a pastry bag, not a star tip, to apply the frosting. 6. Dip the frosted tops in the warm ganache. The ganache should be cool enough so that you get a generous coating of ganache on the cupcake and so that it just barely starts to melt the frosting. Variation You can make these cupcakes with ice cream filling instead of Bavarian Cream if you’d like. Use an ice cream cupcake tool. Use the larger diameter fitting and cut a plug out of the center of each cupcake. Use the same fitting to cut vanilla ice cream plugs and insert them into the cupcakes. Bake and frost the cupcakes just as before.
    • Chocolate Covered Caramel Apple Cupcakes Imagine an apple flavored cupcake with an apple filling, a layer of caramel over the top and then dipped in gourmet chocolate. We sprinkled some with chopped nuts, drizzled some with white chocolate and covered others with candy. You can use a premade caramel frosting, caramel buttercream, homemade caramel or melted caramels or candies for the top layer and before the chocolate dipping. Ingredients Vanilla Bean Baby Cake Mix or equivalent 1 teaspoon Apple flavor Apple pastry filling or Apple Pie filling Salted Caramel Frosting or Caramel Buttercream Frosting Directions 1. Mix and bake cupcakes according to package directions adding the apple flavor to the batter before baking. 2. Clip a corner on the two-pound pack and squeeze about 1/3 ounce through the top of each baked cupcake. 4. Use the ganache recipe at the beginning of this section. 5. Dip the frosted tops in the ganache. The ganache should be cool enough so that you get a generous coating of ganache on the cupcake and so that it just barely starts to melt the frosting. 6. Dress the cupcakes as desired. Some suggestions are: chopped peanuts, chopped salted pretzels, apple bark candy pieces, or a drizzle of white chocolate. You can dress the cupcakes with almost anything that would go on a caramel apple. Get creative! 3. Frost your cupcakes with our Sweet Sensations salted caramel frosting or a caramel buttercream frosting. You can either pipe your frosting onto your cupcakes or spread the frosting on with a knife. If you spread it on, make it thick. 27
    • Other Gourmet Cupcakes You can fill them with frosting or you can fill them with a combination of frosting and pastry filling. Most are made with only frosting but it’s no more work to add pastry filling and we really like pastry filling. (Pastry filling—that’s the good stuff that your baker puts in filled donuts, apple turnovers, and cream puffs. It comes in cream fillings like Bavarian cream, chocolate, and cream cheese and fruit fillings like apple, raspberry, and lemon.) Mini-Cupcake Sandwiches How to Make Cupcake Sandwiches We’ve had a ball making cupcake sandwiches! They’re easy, fun, and scrumptious—like these: • Raspberry Cream Cupcake Sandwiches • Lemon Pie Cupcake Sandwiches • Chocolate Fudge Cupcake Sandwiches You can make all these with a boxed cake mix and frosting mix—incredible desserts that are easy to make. So how do you do it? It’s a very simple concept. You take two cupcake tops (just the tops) and make a sandwich with frosting and/or pastry filling between the two. But how do you make the tops? To make it easy, use a box cake mix. Then scoop batter into the depressions on a muffin top pan. Instead of making muffin tops, you’re making cupcake tops. You can “doctor-up” the cake mix by adding colors and flavors—or maybe raspberry bits like the ones shown on this page. 28 If you have a standard cupcake/muffin pan, you can make mini cupcakes sandwiches. They’re cute, easy, and not that mini—with the two tops together, about the size of a standard cupcake. Spray the inside of a good nonstick muffin pan with cooking spray or grease well and dust with flour. Because the cakes will not come to the top of the pan, they must release easily. We’ve had no problems with good quality muffin pans. Load the prepared muffin pan with cake batter but only to about 3/4 inch deep. We use a medium ice cream scoop (one-inch) to put the perfect amount of batter in each cavity and make uniformly-sized cakes. Bake for about 9-10 minutes or until done. Put the cakes onto a wire rack to cool. Finish according to the directions for full sized cupcake sandwiches.
    • Sticky Toffee Cupcakes Step 1: Bake the cupcake tops. Mix the batter per the package directions. Scoop batter into each of the indentations on your muffin top pan. We use a large ice cream scoop that holds 1/4 cup to get just the right amount of batter each time. (The slide action in the scoop cleanly releases the batter.) Bake the tops and put them on a wire rack to cool. Since the tops are thinner than cupcakes, they bake quicker than cupcakes—ten minutes in our oven. Set the timer early and check them with a toothpick. You’ll need a muffin top pan. (Use this for muffin tops too. You’ll make only the tops of the muffins—the best part.) Step 2: Assemble the cupcake sandwiches. Match the cupcake tops up in pairs. With the cupcake tops upside down, squeeze a rim of frosting around the perimeter of half the cupcake tops as shown in the pictures to the right. If you are going to fill the cupcakes with pastry filling, fill the interior of the ring with pastry filling. If not, continue filling the ring with frosting. Shake sprinkles or other decorations on the exposed frosting. Place a top on the filled cupcake, top up, to complete the sandwich. Our buttercream frosting mixes are perfect for cupcake sandwiches but you can use your favorite recipe. You can also choose from many different pastry fillings and decorations. Sticky toffee pudding is basically a dense cake with a toffee topping. It’s scrumptious. And it’s very versatile. We have found that we can add everything from chocolate chips to bananas. We have used the banana recipe as a base recipe and then substituted other goodies for bananas. If the batter is too dry, adding milk helps to bring it to the right consistency. It follows that anything that can be made in a cake pan should be able to be baked in a muffin pan as cupcakes. That certainly works with sticky toffee pudding. This means that you can convert pretty much any sticky toffee pudding recipes into cupcakes. To do this: 1. Line a muffin pan with paper liners filling each cup nearly full. 2. Bake at 350 degrees for 16 to 18 minutes or until done. 3. When ready to serve, remove the paper liner, place the cupcake on a dessert plate, and place a spoonful of warm toffee sauce over the cake. Our recipes will make 14 or 15 cupcakes. Try five other sticky toffee pudding recipes that can be turned into cupcakes! • Zucchini • Plum • Peach or Mango • Pineapple Coconut • Candy Bar 29
    • Banana Sticky Toffee Pudding Cupcakes It always seems like we have extra bananas that are becoming too ripe. Usually we put them in zipper-type plastic bags and freeze them—and then forget about them. This is a great recipe for your ripe bananas. If you use frozen ones, thaw them in the microwave before using them. You will be tempted to leave the flavors out. Don’t. The sauce is good with vanilla flavor; it is phenomenal with butterscotch flavor. Caramel flavor, brown sugar flavor, and French vanilla flavor are all good and each gives a distinctly different tone to the sauce. As in banana muffins, it’s hard to get enough banana flavor with bananas alone. Add the banana flavor. The Pudding 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 tablespoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup (1 1/2 cubes) butter 2/3 cup brown sugar 2 large eggs 1 cup mashed ripe bananas 2/3 cup Butterscotch chips 2 teaspoons Banana flavor Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. 1. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside. The Toffee Sauce 2. In the bowl of your stand-type mixer, cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the eggs and then the bananas and flavor. This is not complicated to make. You will need a candy thermometer. Just cook it until you reach the desired temperature. 3. Add the flour mixture and beat until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the chips. 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup light corn syrup 1/4 cup (1/2 cube) salted butter 1 teaspoon Butterscotch flavor 1. In a large heavy saucepan, add the cream, brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter. Over medium heat, bring the ingredients to a gentle boil stirring often. Continue cooking until the temperature reaches 230 degrees. You will need to stir constantly as it approaches the targeted temperature. Set aside. 2. Once the sauce has started to cool, stir in the flavor. Let the sauce cool completely. If the sauce is too thick to spread, thin with a little additional whipping cream. 30 4. Scrape the batter into the prepared muffins tins filling each cup nearly full. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until the cake tests done with a toothpick stuck in the center. Place cupcakes on a wire rack to cool. How to Assemble Your Cupcakes When ready to serve, remove the paper liners from the cooled cupcakes, place the cupcake on a dessert plate, and place a spoonful of warm toffee sauce over the cake.
    • Luscious Lingonberry Cupcakes Elki makes great sauces and jams—which we sell. We took their recipe for lingonberry cake and modified it to make these lingonberry cupcakes. Madalyn Luthy of Love at First Bite in Idaho Falls decorated these for us. She put lingonberry jam on each cupcake, then piped on pink buttercream frosting and topped them with red balls of rolled fondant to look like berries. She used Americolor Super Red Food Color Gel for the color. To get the sugar to adhere, she dipped them in water before rolling them in granulated sugar. We suspect that this recipe would also be good with other berry jams such as loganberry or bodacious berry. Ingredients 3 cups cake or pastry flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 cup butter 2 cups granulated sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 teaspoons Raspberry flavor 4 large eggs 1 cup Lingonberry jam 4-5 drops of Americolor Super Red food color gel Directions Preheat the oven to 350°. 1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder and set aside. 2. With your stand-type mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add vanilla and flavor. 3. Add the eggs one at a time and beat them in. 4. Beat about one-third of the flour mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Add about one-half of the jam and beat in. Repeat with another third of the flour, half of the jam and then the final third of flour. Add some food color to make your batter a dark pink or light red color. 5. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Divide the batter between the cups. 6. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes for a standard 12 cup muffin pan or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. (You may use a jumbo muffin pan for larger cupcakes or a mini cupcake pan for smaller ones. Jumbo cupcakes will take longer to bake and mini cupcakes will take less time.) Remove the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool. Frost with butter cream frosting once completely cooled. 7. Spread some lingonberry jam on top of each cooled cupcake. Make our basic buttercream recipe from earlier in this book or use your favorite buttercream recipe. Add some red food coloring and raspberry flavor (to taste) if you’d like. Pipe the frosting onto each cupcake using a star or round tip. Garnish with fondant berries if desired. 31
    • Easy Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting This is an easy cake that is absolutely scrumptious. You simply add three ingredients to our Vanilla Bean cake mix. We served this in the store as a sample to customers and they loved it. Nearly everyone asked for the recipe. Make this recipe as a cake or turn them into cupcakes. Ingredients Vanilla Bean Baby Cake Mix or equivalent 1 teaspoon baking powder 3/4 cup grated carrots 2 teaspoons cinnamon 3/4 cup nuts 1 four-ounce package of cream cheese (or 1/2 of an eight-ounce block), softened 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup powdered sugar A pinch of salt 1 tablespoon meringue powder 1 cup heavy whipping cream Directions Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 1. Make the baby cakes as directed on package adding the carrots, cinnamon and nuts to the batter. Bake at 325 for 16 minutes or until done. Cool on a wire rack. 2. Cream the granulated sugar with the cream cheese. Add the other ingredients and beat until light and fluffy. Frost cooled cupcakes with a knife, or pipe onto each cupcake with a star or round tip. 32
    • Maple Bacon Cupcakes Directions Bake cupcakes as directed. 1. Make a basic buttercream frosting with maple flavor. If you choose to add bacon flavor, omit the milk and add a quarter cup chopped bacon pieces and two tablespoons bacon fat. 2. Cream shortening, butter, maple flavor, and milk together. I wasn’t sure about bacon cupcakes at first but I must admit, they’re good. It’s no wonder-chocolate, bacon, and maple are a good, balanced combination. These are made with our Very Fudgy Baby Cakes cake mix. The cake is denser than the box cakes in the grocery store, a cream cake, about half as dense as a pound cake. You need a dense, moist cake with substance— not to mention, chocolate pieces—to balance with strong flavors of bacon and maple. 3. Add powdered sugar, meringue powder, and salt. Beat at medium speed until it is thoroughly mixed. Continue beating for another minute or two, until creamy. 4. Fry bacon until crisp. Cut them into chunks with kitchen shears. Put them in a bowl and toss them with three tablespoons of brown sugar. 5. Using an ice cream scoop, place a dollop of frosting on each cupcake. Shape the frosting as you like. Alternatively, you can pipe the frosting into swirls on the tops of the cupcakes. Sprinkle the prepared bacon bits over the frosting. Ingredients Very Fudgy Baby Cake Mix or equivalent 1/2 cup vegetable shortening 1/2 cup butter, softened 1 teaspoon Maple flavor 2 tablespoons milk 1/2 pound powdered sugar (a scant two cups) 1 tablespoon meringue powder 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/2 lb bacon 33
    • Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting 6 tablespoons butter, softened 1 cup peanut butter 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar 1/3 tablespoon vanilla or 1 teaspoon Brown Sugar flavor 1/3 cup cream 1/8 teaspoon salt Peanut Butter Frosting 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese 1/2 cup butter 5 cups powdered sugar A scant 1 cup peanut butter 2 to 3 tablespoons milk These are great cupcakes. They are made with our Very Fudgy Baby Cakes cake mix. The cake is denser than the box cakes in the grocery store, a cream cake, about half as dense as a pound cake. The dense, moist cake balances well with the rich peanut butter frosting. We have also provided you with two Peanut Butter Frosting recipes to choose from. One makes a lot more frosting and is made with cream cheese. The other makes a smaller amount of frosting and is made with heavy cream. Ingredients Very Fudgy Baby Cake Mix or equivalent Fudge Ice Cream Topping 3/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts for garnish (optional) Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (optional) 34 Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting This is a great frosting for chocolate cakes and cupcakes. We use a chunky frosting but a smooth works also. 1. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter together until creamy. Scrape the sides down with a spatula. 2. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat until smooth. 3. Use the peanuts or peanut butter cups as garnish on top of the frosted cupcake.
    • Peanut Butter Frosting This is a great frosting recipe. Use it to frost a layer cake, brownies, or cupcakes. It works well with either a yellow cake mix or chocolate cake mix. If you use a yellow cake mix, consider throwing a handful of chopped peanuts into the batter. You may use chunky or smooth peanut butter. This is a large recipe and makes enough frosting to fill and frost a layer cake. If you are going to use this frosting for cupcakes, brownies or a single layer cake, you may want to cut it in half. Directions 1. Bake as directed on the package. Let them cool on a wire rack. 2. Poke holes in the top of each cupcake with a skewer. Drizzle ice cream topping over the cupcakes. If the topping is too thick to drizzle, heat it in the microwave until warm, not hot. 3. Use a one-ounce ice cream scoop to drop mounds of the peanut butter frosting on the cupcakes or you can pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes if you’d like. 1. Cream together cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. 4. Sprinkle chopped peanuts or peanut butter cups over the frosting. 2. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time and beat after each addition. 5. Serve these dessert cupcakes with a fork. They are going to be gooey and good. 3. Add the peanut butter and beat until light and fluffy. 4. Add milk until the frosting reaches a spreadable consistency. 5. Spread the frosting over the cupcake. 6. Chop the peanuts or peanut butter cups and sprinkle over the frosted cupcake. Baker’s Note: We did notice that when testing this recipe with a refrigerated peanut butter that the frosting started to separate after it set. Try using a consistent non-refrigerated peanut butter or adding more powdered sugar. 35
    • What you’ll Need: A Buyer’s Guide Meringue Powder Meringue powder stabilizes whipped cream, so it doesn’t melt so quickly. It puts a hard shell on icings, so you can stack your cookies, and it keeps your frosting from melting in a warm room. It is essential for buttercream frosting and royal icing, the hard icing used to decorate cakes. Premade Frostings These premade frostings are great for cupcakes. Dress up your cupcakes and other desserts with these delicious frostings without the work of making it from scratch. Some of them are mixes and require water and butter and/or shortening to be added while others come ready-made. Find the products and links here: • Vanilla Cream Buttercream Mix • Sweet Sensations Buttercream Frosting Base • Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Mix • Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting Mix • Original Cream Cheese Frosting Mix • Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting Mix • Caramel Whipped Cream Base • Wilton Creamy White Buttercream Icing Mix • Sweet Sensations Salted Caramel Premium Glossy Frosting • Sweet Sensations Chocolate Fudge Premium Glossy Frosting 36 Ramstadt Breda Medium Dark Cocoa This cocoa is a terrific, Dutch-processed cocoa imported from France with two times the cocoa butter. Used by the best bakers and pastry chefs in Europe, its finer ground and richer than most American cocoa powders but still very smooth and complex. We keep both this and Ramstadt Breda Rich Dark Cocoa in our pantry. When we want an intense rich chocolate experience, we reach for the dark cocoa. When we want a smoother chocolate taste, this is what we reach for. The flavor is just as intense, it’s just different. Both have more cocoa butter than the store brands, and either will make a tremendous difference in your baking. Imported Dark Chocolate Wafers These dark chocolate wafers are what we recommend for the chocolate ganache. You can also use them for any baking, candies, and sauces or to drizzle over cakes and desserts. They are sweeter and smoother than most semi-sweet baking chocolates and much nicer for sauces, ganaches and delicate baked goods than melted chips.
    • Flavors and Extracts These Marsden and Bathe flavors and extracts are the real deal. You don’t want to be caught without some of these unique and high quality flavors. Choose from a huge selection and make some of the best, most flavorful cupcakes out there. See many of the options plus their links here: Pastry Fillings These pastry fillings are a must have if you want to make filled cupcakes. Your cupcakes will be to-die-for with these professional pastry fillings. Don’t just use these in cupcakes though, use them for donuts, pastries, crepes, sweet rolls and pies as well. Find all of our pastry fillings and their links here: • Bavarian Cream • Butterscotch • Chocolate Bavarian Cream • Cherry • Cherry • Caramel • Apple • Butter Rum • Raspberry • Banana • Strawberry • Pineapple—in store only • Blueberry • Orange • Cream Cheese • Vanilla • Pineapple • Root Beer Pastry Bags • Apple If you want to make impressive looking cupcakes and frost them with something other than a knife and a thin layer of frosting, pastry bags are the way to go. Choose from 10”, 12”, 16” or 22” disposable bags. With a bag that size, you can fill them with an entire batch of frosting and store the leftovers right inside the bag. Choose from these and other pastry bags here: • Raspberry • Maple • 10” Disposable Pastry Bags • 22” Disposable Pastry Bags • Reusable Cake Decorating Bags • 12” Disposable Decorating Bags • 16” Disposable Decorating Bags 37
    • Sweet Sensations Gourmet Chopped Barks These barks can be used to decorate numerous desserts and cupcakes. They add both flavor and embellishment to your cupcakes, cakes, cookies and any other dessert you see fit to use them on. We used the Black Forest bark on our Black Forest cupcakes and the Lemon Bark on our Lemon Cream Cupcakes. They added the perfect final touch. See those and other flavors here: • Black Forest • Cherry • Lemon • Cinnamon Apple • Strawberry Cheesecake Cream Cake Mixes These cake mixes are cream cake mixes, which means they are denser and moister than the typical store bought mixes which come out light and airy. We like to use these mixes as a base for almost all of our cake and cupcake recipes. Typically, we use our Very Fudgy Baby Cakes as a chocolate cake base and our Vanilla Bean Baby Cakes as a vanilla cake base, but we have a Raspberry Sour Cream Baby Cakes mix as well. Find all of our baby cake mixes here: • Very Fudgy Baby Cakes • Vanilla Bean Baby Cakes • Raspberry Sour Cream Baby Cakes Candied Ginger It’s amazing what little pieces of candied ginger will bring to your cookies, cakes, and desserts! You get a burst of flavor in every piece, a different taste experience than adding ground ginger. But what it really seems to do is showcase the dominant flavor, make it more pronounced and exciting. We’re adding candied ginger to our favorite cookies, cakes, and desserts. Consider adding it in breads, scones, and muffins too. In our cookies, we use 1/3 to 2/3’s cup in most recipes. Americolor Food Color Gels These food colors come in many varieties. We have electric colors which add more vibrancy and brightness to your foods, or there are the standard colors which range from Mint Green to Peach and Gold to Fuchsia. With a collection like this, get any color imaginable and see how baking becomes colorful and exciting. Cake Decorations These cake decorations and sprinkles are great for decorating cupcakes, especially peanut butter brownie sundaes in a cone. These sugars and sprinkles can also be used for decorating birthday cakes, frosted brownies and even cookies. Find our huge selection of decorations here: • Americolor Decorating Sugars • PPJimmies Muffin Top Pan Muffin top pans are used when you only want the best part of the muffin or cupcake – the top. We use this pan to make our cupcake sandwiches, and they are just wonderful. If you’re a fan of the dome like me, this pan is a must have. 38
    • Muffin and Cupcake Pans Cupcake Corer • 24 cup Professional Mini Muffin Pan This ice cream tool is necessary when making ice cream filled cupcakes. It’s so easy to use, and your cupcakes will impress your friends and family everywhere. Simply use the larger diameter fitting and cut a plug out of each baked cupcake. Use the same fitting to cut ice cream plugs and insert them into the cupcakes. Then cover the hole with frosting and you’re set. It’s that easy! • 6 cup Professional Jumbo Muffin Pan Ice Cream Toppings • Silicone Baking Cups These ice cream toppings are unbelievable and perfect for a variety of desserts. We used the hot fudge on our peanut butter cup cupcakes by poking holes in the cupcake and drizzling the sauce over the top so it could sink in and make the cupcake fudgy, moist and delicious. Use any of these sauces to make your cupcakes and desserts out of this world. You can’t make cupcakes without the pan! If you’re looking for professional, high-quality cupcake and muffins pans, look no further. We have a nice selection of pans and baking cups. Find our products and links here: • 12 cup Professional Muffin Pan • Square Cupcake and Muffin Pan Cupcake Paper Liners We recommend using Red Glassine Paper Liners for cupcakes and muffins. They are a better quality than those at the grocery store. We use them in our test kitchen. The glassine paper coating helps repel grease, and these pretty red liners come in a pack of 500 cups for an unbelievable price! If you make a lot of cupcakes and muffins, these are a must have. We also have mini, standard and jumbo paper liners that we sell in packs of 100, 75 and 48. Find these products here: • Red Glassine Paper Liners • Mini Baking Cups • Standard Baking Cups • Jumbo Baking Cups • Hot Fudge • Caramel • Caramel Pecan Elki Lingonberry Jam You’ll need this jam for the luscious lingonberry cupcakes recipe. Elki makes many amazing jams, and they can be used in desserts to add more flavor. In the case of our luscious lingonberry cupcakes, we mixed a half cup into the batter and then used the rest to spread on top of the baked cupcake before the frosting layer. 39