Friday, 29 June 2012

Celebrate with Cupcakes!

Wow, there is so much to celebrate right now!

And what better way to celebrate than with cupcakes? They are self-contained individual servings of deliciousness and everybody loves them.

Seriously, how can you be sad when there are so many different kinds of cupcakes to bake - and eat! 


150 Best Cupcake Recipes
by Julie Hasson
Paperback, 192 pages

The love for cupcakes is a phenomenon that shows no sign of slowing down, and Julie Hasson (Host of Everyday Dish)  has 150 recipes that you can serve for any occasion! Parties, lunches, board meetings, even weddings. Cupcakes go with everything. There are even 25 recipes for vegan cupcakes. Nobody should be without cupcakes.

In the Introduction you will find: Decorating Tips and Techniques, Theme Decorating, Simple Garnishes, Decorating for Kids, Tools and Equipment, Common Ingredients.

The chapters are divided into: Chocolate, Fruit, Nuts, Adults Only (you know what that means!) Kids' Corner, Spice It Up, New Twists, Vegan, Frosting, Glazes and Fillings.

My favourite kinds of cupcakes? Ones with fresh fruit in them. Especially berries, in the summer. Ooh! and cream cheese icings. What are your favourites?

Raspberry Vanilla Cupcakes (page 107)
Makes 12 cupcakes

These cupcakes are easy to prepare, reliable and always ready to please the pickiest palates. They're a great choice for afternoon tea, which is my favorite time to eat them.

•    Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
•    Muffin pan, lined with paper liners

1½ cups    all-purpose flour    375 mL
1½ tsp    baking powder    7 mL
1⁄4 tsp    salt    1 mL
1 cup    granulated sugar    250 mL
1⁄2 cup    canola oil    125 mL
2    eggs    2
1 tsp    vanilla    5 mL
1⁄2 cup    milk    125 mL
1⁄3 cup    raspberry preserves    75 mL
    Frosting (see Frosting suggestions, below)

1.    In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
2.    In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Alternately whisk in flour mixture and milk, making three additions of flour mixture and two of milk, beating until smooth.
3.    Scoop batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack.
4.    Remove paper liners from cupcakes. Slice cupcakes in half horizontally. Spread bottoms with raspberry preserves, replacing tops. Top filled cupcakes with frosting.

Tip: These are best served the day that they're made.

Variation: Substitute apricot or cherry preserves for the raspberry.

Frosting suggestions: Lemon Cream (page 164), Chocolate Glaze (page 150) or Cream Cheese Icing (page 158).

Excerpted from 150 Best Cupcake Recipes by Julie Hasson © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Best Chocolate Cupcakes (page 18)
Makes 12 cupcakes

Here is a great basic chocolate cupcake just asking to be frosted with a creamy, rich topping. I like it topped with everything from Chocolate Fudge Frosting to Cream Cheese Icing (see Frosting suggestions). This recipe is loosely adapted from a recipe in Natalie Haughton's 365 Great Chocolate Desserts.

•    Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
•    Muffin pan, lined with paper liners

1¼ cups    all-purpose flour    300 mL
1⁄2 cup    unsweetened Dutch-process     125 mL
    cocoa powder, sifted
3⁄4 tsp    baking soda    3 mL
1⁄4 tsp    salt    1 mL
1 cup    granulated sugar    250 mL
1⁄3 cup    canola oil    75 mL
1    egg    1
1 tsp    vanilla    5 mL
3⁄4 cup    buttermilk    175 mL
1⁄2 cup    semisweet chocolate chips    125 mL
    Frosting (see Frosting suggestions, below)

1.    In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
2.    In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, egg and vanilla until smooth. Alternately whisk in flour mixture and buttermilk, making three additions of flour mixture and two of buttermilk, beating until batter is smooth. Stir in chocolate chips.
3.    Scoop batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 22 to 27 minutes or until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack. Top cooled cupcakes with frosting.

Tip: These cupcakes freeze well. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap and store them in resealable plastic freezer bags for up to 2 weeks.

Variations: German Chocolate Cupcakes: Omit the chocolate chips in the batter. Frost with Coconut Pecan Frosting (page 154).
Substitute white chocolate chips for the chocolate chips.

Frosting suggestions: Chocolate Fudge Frosting (page 149), Cookies and Cream Buttercream (page 157), Vanilla Cream Frosting (page 160) or Cream Cheese Icing (page 158).

Excerpted from 150 Best Cupcake Recipes by Julie Hasson © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes (page 78)
Makes 12 cupcakes

Ice cream cones filled with cake and iced to look like real ice cream cones are a fun treat for kids and make a great alternative to ordinary birthday cake. They're a classic but still cool.

•     Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
•    Muffin pan

1    recipe White Cupcake batter     1
    (see recipe, below)
12    flat-bottomed ice cream cones    12
    Frosting (see Frosting suggestions,below)
    Sprinkles, candied cherries or
    other garnishes of choice

1.    Fill muffin pan with flat-bottomed ice cream cones. Fill each cone three-quarters full of cake batter. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until tops of cupcakes are golden brown and a tester_inserted in center comes out clean.
2.    Let cool completely in pan on rack. Top cooled cupcake cones with frosting. Sprinkle with garnishes.

Tips: These cupcakes can be made up to 1 day ahead, but they taste best the day that they're made. Place unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight container and store at room temperature. Frost just before serving.

One package (18.25 oz/ 515 g) of cake mix will work in place of the cupcake batter. Prepare mix according to package directions, fill cones and bake as directed above.

White Cupcakes
(page 85)
•     Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
•    Muffin pan, lined with paper liners
1 cup    all-purpose flour    250 mL
1⁄2 tsp    baking powder    2 mL
1⁄4 tsp    baking soda    1 mL
Pinch    salt    Pinch
3⁄4 cup    granulated sugar    175 mL
1⁄4 cup    unsalted butter,     60 mL
    at room temperature
2    egg whites    2
1 tsp    almond extract    5 mL
2⁄3 cup    buttermilk    150 mL
    Frosting (see Frosting suggestions,
    below)

1.    In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2.    In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together sugar and butter until well combined. Add egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in almond extract. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, making three additions of flour mixture and two of buttermilk, beating until smooth.
3.    Scoop batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack. Top cooled cupcakes with frosting.

Frosting suggestions: Vanilla Cream Frosting (page_160), Peanut Butter Frosting (page 169) or Strawberry Cream Cheese Buttercream (page 172).

Excerpted from 150 Best Cupcake Recipes by Julie Hasson © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.