Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Gingerbread Cupcakes

So it's Christmas Eve and it's snowing.  It's also been two months since my last cupcake post.  Between classes, homework, dance, and everything else that I managed to get myself involved with this semester, it has at time been too much.  But now I'm home, it's almost christmas, and I have time to bake again.  It's wonderful.

I made these cupcakes a bunch last winter, but I don't think they ever managed to show up on the blog.
Luckily they got another shot to, because these are incredible and a perfect Christmas Eve treat.  The recipe comes from Gourmet, via Epicurious.  I made a slight adaptation to the frosting, since it calls for lemon juice, which I have found makes it too sticky.

Gingerbread Cupcakes
Makes 12

1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground gloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking soda

In a bowl, whisk together flour, spices, and salt.  Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Beat in the molasses and egg.  Combine baking soda with 1/2 cup boiling water and stir until baking soda is dissolved.  Add to the butter mixture and mix to combine.  Add flour mixture in several batches, mixing thoroughly.

Bake at 350 for 16-20 minutes.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese
2 tbs butter
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons lemon zest

Beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy.  Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating thoroughly each time and scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Beat in vanilla and lemon zest.

Mr. Darcy wishes you a Merry Christmas Eve.  He also wants to steal your cupcakes.

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October Pumpkin Cupcakes

Somehow October has managed to slip completely by.  The air is colder, the leaves are yellow, and pumpkin is everywhere.  So clearly it had to end up in cupcakes- it seems inevitable.  Lets just say this was a very good idea.  It was also a much better way to spend a fall afternoon than studying for midterms.

Feel free to make your own pumpkin puree, but in leu of midterms and such there was simply no way that was happening in the Cupcake Suite kitchen.  Anyways, they were still absolutely delicious and seasonal.  My suite may have just found our new favorite cupcake (although that happens quite a bit).

Pumpkin Cupcakes
Adapted from Sweetopia
Makes 1 Dozen

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices together in medium bowl.  In a larger bowl mix remaining ingredients until completely smooth.  Slowly add flour mixture and stir until combined.  Bake at 350° for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes enough for 12 cupcakes

6 ounces cream cheese
6 tbs butter, softened
1/4 plus 2 tbs brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Beat cream cheese and butter with electric mixer until smooth and fluffy.  Add brown sugar and beat until incorporated.  Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating well each time.  Add remaining ingredients and beat for addition 2-5 minutes.

Bon Appetit and Happy-Almost-November,

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Autumn Pecan Pie

A warm cup of coffee, a cozy sweater, and a slice of pecan pie are the essence of fall.  (They also making doing homework a little more fun.)  Plus, the smell of this pie baking is like all of the good aromas of fall wrapped up in one little glass dish.

My mom would make this pie a bunch at home around this time of the year, so I asked her for the recipe.  Turns out it is this one from Epicurious.  It uses maple syrup along with the typical corn syrup, so there's a whole lot of amazing flavor in this pie.

Happy Fall and Bon Appetit,

Friday, September 21, 2012

Salted Caramel Mocha Cupcakes

A couple of days ago, on my way home from classes I stopped by Starbucks and picked up a salted caramel mocha.  It was the perfect way to end a long day, especially since the air was just a little bit chilly and it was starting to smell like fall. 

So for the past several days I have been craving caramel, but I am not super excited to spring $4 on another mocha.  The answer?  Cupcakes, as usual.

I have been wanting to make my own caramel for awhile now, but I am always nervous about trying it because I don't have all the fancy equipment and candy thermometers that a lot of recipes call for.  Then I came across this recipe, which had lots of helpful pictures and explanations, and decided to just go for it.

Totally worth a little bit of nerves.  The caramel sauce made me a little nervous when the butter refused to incorporate with the cooked sugar, but after a lot of whisking it turned out.  And it is delicious.  You can make it with or without the salt, but the salted version is really wonderful.

The cupcakes also include a step where you cook the sugar and butter on the stove.  I was a little reluctant to do this step, since it not only adds more time and dishes, but it isn't the usual procedure for cupcakes.  I realized though, that you are sort of making another caramel which goes directly into the cupcake batter, so the chocolate cupcakes actually have a hint of a caramel flavor.

So happy official last day of summer, and welcome to fall.  What a better way to celebrate than a salted caramel mocha cupcake?

Bon Appetit,

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Strawberry Pistachio Tart

Summer is pretty clearly over, even though the calendar doesn't say so quite yet.  However, this weekend Costco was still in that summer mood, and had some gorgeous strawberries on sale.  A Costco-sized clamshell of strawberries is much too much for one girl to handle, so I decided to make something for my suite for dessert.  On a whim I adapted this recipe to go with what I had on hand, which included pistachios.

I love making pies, but often it takes a lot of time to perfect that basket-weave top crust and whatnot, so it doesn't always happen.  However, this tart is super quick and easy to make.   I threw mine together before I got dinner going, and it was all set and cooled by the time dessert rolled around.


1 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup plus 1 tbs butter, cubed and cold
2-4 tbs ice water

Whisk dry ingredients together.  Add butter and mix with a fork until mixture resembles a coarse meal.  Add ice water slowly until dough just forms into a ball.  Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


1/2 cup ground pistachios
1 tbs flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups cut strawberries
2 tsp lemon juice

Combine all ingredients and gently mix.  Roll out crust and press into pan.  Prick several times with a fork.  Spread filling over crust and bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes, or until edges of crust begin to brown.

Bon Appetit

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Back to School Cupcakes

For the past week I have been getting settled in at school and participating in the New Student Orientation Program as and Orientation Leader.  I had a great group of orientation leaders in my "crew," (which happened to be crew P as evident by the decorations) so we all got together for baking and a potluck lunch for our crew and our crew chief.

I decided to go for the black magic cupcakes, since not only were they the first cupcakes that I baked last year in my new kitchen, but also because they are delicious.  They are foul-proof and since I have made them so many times it is a great way to get used to a new kitchen and a new oven.

For the frosting, I adapted this recipe.  I just substituted 1/4 cup of the nutella for peanut butter, and it came out fantastic.  I had a few left over, so my suite got to enjoy some cupcakes as well.  Anyways, its good to be back, and it's good to be baking.

Bon Appetit,

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lavender Blackberry Cheesecake

How many ways are there to bake with lavender?  Lots.  Here is another recipe where I used my handpicked lavender!  I combined a few different recipes to make something with what I had in the fridge.  I also went for our smaller cheesecake pan (the 7 inch) which is a much better size for just four people.  The result- new favorite cheesecake.  Make one, do it.

I went a graham cracker crust, a lavender cheesecake, and a lavender-blackberry sour cream topping.  It's a couple different steps, and you do have to put it back in the oven after adding each element, so it does take a bit of time to make the finished product.  But it's worth it.

Graham Cracker Crust
from The Joy of Cheesecake
Makes enough for a 9-in pan
(if you are making a 7-in pan like I did, you will have leftovers- that's ok)

1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
6 tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine all ingredients, mix well.  Press the crumb mixture evenly along the bottom of a pre-greased springform pan, and about 1'' up each side.  Bake for 5-10 minutes.  Let cool before adding filling.

Lavender Cheesecake
Recipe adapted from Mt. Shasta Lavender Farms for 7-inch pan

4 ounces heavy cream
2 tsp dried lavender buds
14 ounces cream cheese
2.5 ounces sugar
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine lavender and heavy cream in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Immediately remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes.  Strain cream and discard lavender.

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until very smooth- approximately 3 minutes.  Add lavender-infused heavy cream and continue to mix for an additional 3 minutes on medium-high, or until smooth. Whisk eggs and sugar in a separate bowl.  Add to cream mixture and gently beat until smooth.

Pour into pre-baked crust in springform pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until set.  It is best to also place a large pan filled with water 1 rack below the cheesecake to allow for humidity in the oven during baking.  This reduces the chance of your cheesecake developing cracks.

Blackberry Lavender Topping
Adapted from The Joy of Cheesecake
makes enough for 1 7-inch cheesecake

1/2 cup sour cream
1 tbsp lavender sugar (or just use regular sugar and add a few lavender buds)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 blackberries

Preheat oven to 450°.

Muddle blackberries, set aside.  Combine sour cream, sugar, and vanilla.  Whisk until smooth.  Add blackberries, a bit at a time, until desired color and flavor are reached.

Bake for 5-7 minutes or until set.

When your cheesecake is done you should allow it to slowly cool in order to prevent cracks.  I left mine in the turned-off oven with the door propped open until the oven reached room temperature.  When the cheesecake is cooled to room temperature you should put it in the fridge- still in the pan though.  You can take it out of the pan after a few hours in the fridge, just run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan first.  And there you have it- a lovely lavender cheesecake!

Bon Appetit