Advanced Cupcakes w/ Chef Susan Holding

Here are some good tips for first time cupcake bakers:

1. Follow the recipe!  With baking it’s best to stick to the recipe and don’t try to get creative unless you’ve tried the recipe at least once. 

2. Don’t overfill your pans.  If the recipe says to fill halfway, fill halfway.  They can overflow very easily.

3. Do not disturb.  Once you put your cupcakes in the oven, don’t open it until the minimum amount of time the recipe calls for has been reached.  If you do, you can fall or dimple.

 4. Use good ingredients.  Don’t buy the vanilla substitute. Quality ingredients make a big difference with small bites.

4. Store in airtight containers!  Like most bake goods, your cupcakes will stay moist and yummy if you store them in airtight containers.  But make sure they cool completely before storing.  Avoid refrigerating best because refrigeration can dry them out. 

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

(Scripps Network LLC)

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 15 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 13 ounces granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 3 eggs

 
Directions

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons red food coloring

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vinegar (white or apple cider can both work)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 cup water

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 pound butter, room temperature
  • 2 pounds powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the cupcakes:

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder into a bowl and set aside.

In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix oil, sugar, and buttermilk until combined. Add eggs, food coloring, vinegar, vanilla and water and mix well. Add the dry ingredients a little bit at a time and mix on low, scraping down sides occasionally, and mix until just combined. Be sure not to over mix, or the batter will come out tough.

Line a 16-cup cupcake pan with paper liners, scoop the batter into the liners and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.

 

For the cream cheese frosting:

Whip the butter and cream cheese together in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until creamed. Gradually add powdered sugar to the mixture and scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.

The frosting can be used right away, or stored in the refrigerator up to a week.

Frost cooled cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Coffee Filling and Icing

(Scripps Network LLC)

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Coffee Cream Filling, recipe follows
  • Coffee Buttercream, recipe follows
  • Chocolate covered coffee beans, for garnish, optional

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with paper liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add oil, coffee, and eggs. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Mix in the sour cream and vanilla.

Spoon the batter evenly into prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, for 16 to 18 minutes. Let them cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool completely on wire racks.

Spoon Coffee Cream Filling into a pastry bag with a long narrow tip. Insert the tip into the top of cupcake and squeeze about 1 tablespoon of filling into center of each cupcake.

Spread the Coffee Butter cream frosting evenly over the cupcakes and garnish with chocolate covered coffee beans, if desired.

Coffee Cream Filling:

  • 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup coffee-flavored liqueur
  • 1 (8-ounce) container frozen chocolate flavored whipped topping, thawed

In a small bowl, whip the cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Slowly add the liqueur and fold in the whipped topping. Cover and chill.

Yield: 1 1/4 cups

Coffee Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup strong brewed coffee

In a medium bowl, beat the butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth, then beat in the coffee.

Yield: 2 1/2 cups

Coconut Cupcakes

(Garten, 1999)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

For the frosting:

  • 1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

DARK CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

(from Cooks Illustrated, “American Classics 2009”)

Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz) Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 3/4 cup (3 3/4 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) sour cream
  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-sized muffin pan (1/2 cup capacity) with baking-cup liners.
  1. Combine butter, chocolate and cocoa in medium heatproof bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water; heat mixture until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and fully combined. Set aside to cool until just warm to touch.
  2. Whisk flour, baking soda and baking powder in small bowl to combine
  3. Whisk eggs in second medium bowl to combine; add sugar, vanilla and salt and whisk until fully incorporated. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Sift about one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and whisk until combined; whisk in sour cream until combined; then sift in remaining flour mixture and whisk batter until it is homogenous and thick.
  4. Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.
  5. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before icing, about 30 minutes.

 
 
 
SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

(from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes; makes about 5 cups)

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 cup plus 2 T sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Combine egg whites, sugar and salt in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved (the mixture should feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips).
  1. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes.
  2. With mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all butter has been added, whisk in vanilla. Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with a flexible spatula, and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.
  3. (optional) To tint buttercream, reserve some for toning down the color, if necessary. Add gel-paste food color, a drop at a time (or use the toothpick or skewer to add food color a dab at a time) to the remaining buttercream. You can use a single shade of food color or experiment by mixing two or more. Blend after each addition with the mixer (use the paddle attachment) or a flexible spatula, until desired shade is achieved. Avoid adding too much food color too son, as the hue with intensify with continued stirring; if necessary, you can tone down the shade by mixing in some reserved untinted buttercream.

 
CREAM CHEESE – CHOCOLATE CHIP FILLED 
CUPCAKES

1 (2 layer) chocolate cake batter recipe

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese 
1 egg 
1 tsp. vanilla 
1/3 c. sugar 
1 c. chocolate chips

Prepare cake mix as directed. Mix together cream cheese, egg, vanilla, and sugar. Add chocolate chips to cream cheese filling. Line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners. Place about 1 large tablespoon of cake batter into each liner. Then place 1 teaspoon of filling into each liner. Top with more cake batter. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Works Cited

Garten, I. (1999). Barefoot Contessa. New York.

Scripps Network LLC. (n.d.). Retrieved April 8, 2010, from Food Network.com: www.foodnetwork.com

Scripps Networks, LLC. (n.d.). Retrieved April 8, 2010, from Foodnetwork.com: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/cda/recipe

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