Monday, September 13, 2010

Cookies and Cream Cheesecake

One of the blogs that I found right when I was starting my blog was Martha Stewart's Cupcakes Club.  Each month everyone makes the same cupcake, and then reviews it on their blog.

This month's cupcake is the Cookies and Cream Cheesecake cupcakes.  I have to say that from the first day I got this cookbook, I have been practically drooling over these cupcakes.  They looked so delicious.

To start out, you put an oreo cookie in each cupcake liner (in the pan of course).  Then you mix together cream cheese, chopped up oreo cookies, sugar, vanilla, eggs, sour cream and a pinch of salt.  Trying to make them slightly more healthy, I used fat free cream cheese and lite sour cream.  The other substitution I made was using the store brand Oreo's instead of actual Oreo's.  My only reasoning for this was the were much cheaper.

These cupcakes baked a little longer than any others I have made so far.  The recipe said they needed to bake for 22 minutes at 350 degrees.  The ones I put in the small oven at my parents house baked for about 26-27 minutes.  I didn't realize until after they were done that the oven was only at 325 (since Cathleen was making cookies).  So the cupcakes in the big oven took an extra minute or two, but no more than 25 minutes.

I also made some mini cheesecakes with this batch.  This was just because of the fact that I ran out of cupcake liners for my regular size pans.  Since the mini cupcake tins are too small to have a full Oreo in the bottom, I put a quarter of one, plus another small piece, so that there was still a crust at the bottom.  They baked for about 15 minutes.  They were perfect bite size cheesecakes.

I made these cupcakes for my sister's going away party as well, and because we didn't have tons of fridge space, I made them the morning of the party.  The cupcakes need to be refrigerated for at least four hours, but preferably overnight.  I was able to have them in the fridge for about 3 1/2 to 4 hours.  I cut it close on the time, but everything worked out, and they were a hit at the party.  They were also a hit at work the following day.  I'm sure my coworkers think that I'm fattening them up...

Check out the pictures Chris took below, and let me know what you think!

Stout Cupcakes

I made Stout cupcakes for Cathleen's going away party last weekend.  Cathleen had requested these cupcakes for the party, so the preparation started with Chris and I going to the grocery store to pick out beer.  Since I don't know much about beer, and the recipe called for a stout like Guiness, Chris selected a Double Chocolate Stout.

I made the cupcakes at my mom's house, since we were there most of the weekend.  The cupcakes were very easy to make, and they had some somewhat surprising ingredients in them.  When I was thinking of cupcakes with beer in them, I never really thought about what else would be added to complement the beer.  These cupcakes were more like a molasses or spice cupcake.  They had molasses, nutmeg and orange zest in them for flavor.  They ended up very moist, and didn't really taste like beer, let alone double chocolate stout.

Since I made these cupcakes the day before the party, I kept them in airtight containers until an hour or two before the party.  They were able to stay at room temperature until I was able to make the Stout glaze.

The glaze was very easy to make.  All it required was 1/4 cup of the Stout from the cupcakes (in this case, the Double Chocolate Stout) and 2 cups of powdered sugar.  I mixed it in the mixer until it was combined, and thickened up a bit.

I frosted the cupcakes right away by drizzling the glaze on top.  This was probably the messiest part of these cupcakes, because the glaze went everywhere.

For serving, I left some cupcakes without the glaze, because I thought it had a stronger beer taste to it, and also because I thought the cupcakes were also good on their own.

I did bring a couple cupcakes to work two days later, and the cookbook was right in the fact that they are better the day they are glazed, but my friends at work didn't seem to mind.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Applesauce Spice Cupcakes

Lots of blog posts today, since I have time to get caught up.

I decided to make Applesauce Spice cupcakes today while I was home, since Chris and Pat were off at the Boeing Classic all day.  I was a little limited in what I could make, since I didn't have a way to get to the store after Chris left.

I've been wanting to make these cupcakes for a while.  They looked interesting just because of the spice combination, as well as the applesauce.

The cupcakes were very easy to make.  All the recipes start out the same way, mix together spices, flour, and baking soda in a bowl.  Then in the mixer, combine butter and sugar, and once that is combined, add in the eggs.  All the recipes so far have been essentially the same as this, so it's easy to get the hang of the new recipes that I've been trying.

I think I am getting the hang of how much to fill the cupcake liners.  The only thing I can't figure out is why the cupcakes are all ending up kind of flat.  The last couple batches have been slightly rounded on the tops, but not as much as I would have thought.  I even tried buying new baking soda, but I'm not sure it's made too much of a difference.

After baking the cupcakes (only 18 for this recipe) and letting them cool, I started on the brown sugar cream cheese frosting.

This frosting, which only consists of butter, cream cheese (I decided to use fat free), and light brown sugar, was easy to make, and I think turned out the best so far. 

I frosted the cupcakes with a pastry bag, check out the pictures.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

My next cupcake was a Red Velvet cupcake.  This is one of my favorite cakes, and is the cake I like having for my birthday each year.  I have never made it before, either as a cake or a cupcake.

The recipe, shown here, was not terribly difficult.  I did make one mistake on this recipe though.  When I went to the grocery store on Monday I got red gel paste, like the recipe called for.  Or at least I thought it was the correct red gel paste.  I bought one of the tubes of red gel coloring that is in the baking aisle, but it turns out that the correct gel coloring comes in a small container, and is much more concentrated than the tube of red gel.  The recipe stated that I could use a bottle (yes, a whole bottle....) of red food coloring.  The problem with that is that it is really difficult to find.  I did look at Fred Meyer, but didn't see it.  If I make these cupcakes again, I will have to get the right coloring.

Since I didn't get the correct coloring for the cupcakes, they turned out brown with a hint of red color.  I ended up using the whole tube of red gel coloring, instead of just 1/2 teaspoon.  Even with the extra gel, they were still brown.

One thing that I learned from the cookbook was that originally Red Velvet cupcakes were made with vinegar and baking soda.  The reaction between the vinegar and baking soda was used to enhance the natural redness of chocolate.  Eventually red food colorings were added to make them a bright red.

I was a little rushed for time while making these cupcakes, so I made 15 regular size cupcakes, and 12 mini cupcakes.  The regular size cupcakes needed an extra minute or two, past the 20 minutes called for in the recipe.  I think these cupcakes were actually filled a bit too much, but since I didn't make all regular size cupcakes, it was hard to tell if they were filled too much.  The mini cupcakes only needed to bake for about 10-12 minutes.  They are about half the size of the regular size cupcakes, so it makes sense that they should only bake for half the time.

The frosting called for these cupcakes was a cream cheese frosting.  I had extra frosting leftover from the Zucchini Spice cupcakes a few days earlier.  I kept it in the refrigerator, in an airtight container.  It can keep like that for a few days.

To use the frosting, I had to get it back close to room temperature.  Then it needed to be mixed up again in the mixer.  It was pretty easy to to get it back to where it could be spread on the cupcakes.

I am adding a photo album to the blog, where I will be adding photos of my cupcakes.  I am going to try and take pictures of all the ones I make going forward, starting with the Red Velvet cupcakes.  Let me know what you think.

Zucchini Spice Cupcakes

I realized when I wrote my last blog post, that I left out one cupcake.  I made Zucchini Spice Cupcakes about two weeks ago. 

I got a large, fresh zucchini from the Issaquah Farmers Market the day before (for only $2!!).  I'm glad I got a large one, because the recipe called for 3 cups of grated Zucchini. 

The recipe was fairly simple.  I think I have finally figured out what the cookbook means by filling them 3/4 full.  The only way I ever get the number that the recipe says it makes is if I fill the cupcakes up to the top of the cupcake liner.  It seems odd that that is considered to be 3/4 full.

The zucchini cupcakes had a cream cheese frosting.  The frosting was not too difficult to make, but it sure made a lot.  Because of that, I decided that my next cupcake needed to be one that had a cream cheese frosting.

No pictures of this cupcake, but there will be a picture of the Red Velvet cupcakes that I made a few days ago.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The first couple batches

Since Chris got me Martha Stewart's Cupcake book for my birthday last month, I've tried 4 recipe's. Going forward I am going to write about each recipe by itself, and hopefully put up some pictures. For this post though, I'm going to just write about them all at once.

I started out with Marble Cupcakes. I made these at my parents house because I had family visiting that weekend. I followed the recipe just about perfectly, until it came to the part about how full each cupcake should be. I still am trying to figure out what they mean by filling each cupcake 3/4 full. I ended up with two extra cupcakes because of this.  This recipe was a little bit of a challenge also because I've never baked anything that was marbled, so that was new, but it turned out alright. The thing that I liked from the start is that the recipe says they will bake for 20 minutes, and at 20 minutes they were perfect. That has been something that has frustrated me with baking, is that towards the end, you have to be checking the oven every few minutes.  I iced these cupcakes with a very simple glaze. I didn't have enough powdered sugar, so it was pretty runny, and didn't look quite right. I'll get it right next time though.

Next I made Chocolate Spice cupcakes.  They are served upside down, and then covered with chocolate ganache glaze and some candied ginger.  They have a very interesting combination of flavors, but they were very good.  I think on these ones, I still had trouble figuring out how full to fill them though.  That's something I'll need to work on some more.

Right after the chocolate spice cupcakes, I made Banana Nut Cupcakes, with a caramel buttercream.  I had some leftover banana's, so this was the recipe to try.  It was very simple to make, and has roasted pecans to give it a little crunch.  I had to roast the pecans, which I've never done before.  It was pretty simple, you just lay them out on a sheet pan, and stick them in the over for around 10 minutes.  You really have to watch them because towards the end of the time, they can burn, which some of mine did.  Fortunately I roasted some extra pecans.  The frosting for these cupcakes was a little more difficult the other ones I've tried.  First you have to make caramel, and then add it to the start of the buttercream.  It turned out alright, it could have been better, but I'm not sure I've made either caramel or buttercream before, so I figure this wasn't too bad.  I also tried with this recipe to freeze some of the buttercream and some of the cupcakes.  I'll take them out in another week or two, and see how they taste then.  Stay tuned.

The fourth cupcake that I made was a Snickerdoodle Cupcake.  The link to the recipe is here.  The cupcakes themselves were pretty easy to make.  The frosting was very difficult.  The frosting is supposed to be like a meringue.  You have to make a clear sugar syrup, and add it to the egg whites.  I didn't have a candy thermometer when I was making this, so it was a little more difficult to keep track of the temp.  They did taste pretty good, so I will have to make these again sometime.

I think I will make some cupcakes tomorrow, since I'm off from work.  So vote for which you think I should make.