Tag Archives: cupcakes

Best Ever {I Mean Ever} Banana Cupcakes

Hey guys.  Um, can we talk?  I’m seriously bursting with happiness about some changes that will be happening over here in the next few weeks.  First off, in just 10 days it will be 5 years since I started this little adventure, with hubs and camera in tow.  A lot has happened in 5 years!  We made some pretty amazing new friends.  Yup, for real, that’s you.  And we’ve had some pretty great experiences.   Remember when we were in the launch issue of Taste of Home Canada Magazine?  That was seriously a thrill for me.   Like, icing on top of the cake amazing.  The bee’s knee’s.  You know, pretty darn cool.   And those articles for Food Bloggers of Canada?  That’s us, feeling proud to be networking with our fellow Canadian foodies alike.  As well, just last year, I became a contributor over at Hello Creative Family.  And I love that group of creative people over there.  Gosh, guys, I’m so darn grateful.  Because slowly but surely, this blog is climbing up to where I dream it to be.  And I’m hoping you’ll come right along with me.

Best Ever Banana Cupcakes via SweetRevelations

 

Oddly enough, the very first post ever was called New Beginnings, which is just where we’re headed.   Pretty soon, this sweet little blog of mine, will have a whole new look.  I just can’t even tell you how excited I am.  No seriously, the designer I’m working with will probably want to strangle me when all is said and done.  This blog has been my pride and joy for 5 years, so moving things around and doing a makeover is kind of overwhelming and scary.

Oh, don’t worry, desserts and sweets will still be a huge part of my blog, because frankly, this world needs a whole lot more cake.  But I’m also really excited to share other things about myself and my family too.  We live on a postage stamp sized lot, in the middle of a bustling city, but are working to shift to a more sustainable living.  We’re growing things, and upcycling things, supporting local farmers, and just generally trying to live a little more you know, soulfully.  I’ll be writing and posting about some of these idea’s along the way.

Best Ever Banana Cupcakes via SweetRevelations

 

I’m thinking and hoping that this might be the last post, before the big reveal.  I thought it fitting to share one of my most pinned and viewed recipes, ever, in the last 5 years.   This time though, I’ve made it in cupcake form.  When I had the bake shop, I made hundreds of these Banana Cupcakes for weddings, showers and special events.  They’re super moist, full of that banana flavor that you love, and pretty simple and elegant.  Leave them un-iced for a quick snack too.  There is always a batch in my freezer, so the kiddos can grab a quick snack on their way out the door.

Best Ever Banana Cupcakes via SweetRevelations

So, I guess this is it huh?  Is this where we stand at the door, awkwardly twiddling our fingers, hoping to see each other again soon?  It might be quiet here for a week or two, but when I come back, I promise I’ll be all dolled up.  Have I told you yet HOW EXCITED I AM?!

See you soon friends,

Renee

Best Ever Banana Cupcakes

yield 24 – 30 cupcakes

  • 1 ½ cups bananas , mashed (about 3)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¾ cup oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk, room temperature

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 250 gr. cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup Crisco
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350°.  Prepare 3 cupcake trays with 30 liners total.

1.  In a small bowl, mix mashed banana with the lemon juice; set aside.  In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda , nutmeg and salt; set aside.
2.  In a large bowl, mix oil and sugar until well combined.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add in vanilla.
3.  On low, add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk.  Stir in banana mixture.
4.  Pour batter into prepared liners, no more than 1/4 cup per liner, and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.  Place cupcakes on wire racks and cool completely.
5.  While the cupcakes cool, make the icing by beating the cream cheese, Crisco and butter in a large bowl.  Beat until smooth and well combined.  Add salt.  Add the icing sugar slowly and mix well to remove any lumps.  Fill a piping bag (with a 1M tip), and ice using a circular motion to create the rose effect.  Cupcakes can be stored in the refrigerator and brought to room temperature before serving.  You may have extra frosting left over, which is delicious on homemade cinnamon buns!
*recipe adapted from Food.com

 

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Filed under Cake, Cup Cakes, Fondant and Icing

Spicy Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel

And so begins the season of pumpkin everything.  Some people celebrate their birthday month, but in this house, we rejoice in pumpkin month.  A celebration, all month-long, of how many recipes I can fit pumpkin into.

Isn’t it funny how the pumpkin craze becomes slightly over the top in October?  People are hoarding cans and cans of puree, and then for the rest of the year the poor pumpkin pie spice sits, untouched, literally ignored?  If you figure out what the deal is with that, let me know.

pumpkin cupcakes

I haven’t posted cupcakes in a long time, so I thought these Spicy Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel, would be the perfect start to pumpkin everything month.  Just as the name implies, it’s a spicy but super moist delicate pumpkin cupcake, with a gorgeous brown sugar swiss meringue swirl, and a sweet and salty pool of homemade salted caramel.    It’s the pumpkin and salted caramel combination that gets me every time.  Not to mention cloves and cinnamon.  I do love the smell of cloves.

pumpkin cupcakes

These pumpkin cupcakes are an excellent recipe that do double duty as easy muffins too.  I simply double the recipe and freeze half for lunches, because they freeze so well.  They are also an easy make ahead dessert, because every component can be prepared in advance.  Make and freeze the cupcakes until you need them, whip and refrigerate the icing a few days ahead, and keep that salted caramel in the fridge for up to a week!   Your prep time is literally only minutes when you need to ice and serve them.  For this reason alone, these are a superb choice for any Thanksgiving celebrations you might be preparing for.

pumpkin cupcake

And don’t be afraid to make your own pumpkin puree too!  Although I do love the convenience of canned puree, it is incredibly easy to buy pie pumpkins from market and make your own.

Now excuse me while I spend the next few hours scouring Pinterest for the next great pumpkin recipe.  Have you got one?  Share it with me in the comments!

Happy pumpkin baking friends,

Renee

xo

Spicy Pumpkin Cupcakes

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350° and line two muffin trays with cupcake liners

  1.  In a small bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves, set aside.  In a large bowl combine the sugar and oil.  Mix well.  Add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated.  Mix in the pumpkin puree.  Slowly add the flour mixture and stir just until combined.
  2. Fill tins with a 1/4 cup of batter or use a cookie scoop, to ensure all of the cupcakes are the same size.  The recipe will yield approx. 20 cupcakes.  Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Set aside to cool.

Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Frosting

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed and room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

 

1.  Fill a saucepan (large enough to fit your mixing bowl just a few inches) with a few inches of water.  Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low so water continues to simmer.

2.  In your stand mixer bowl, hand whisk the egg whites and sugar just until combined.  Place over simmering pot and whisk for approx 4 mins until the egg whites are hot (about 150 degrees).  The sugar should be dissolved by this time as well.  Place the bowl of eff whites on the stand mixer and attach the whisk attachment.  Whisk on medium until whites have increased in volume and the outside of the bowl is just slightly warm to the touch.

3.  Remove whisk attachment and replace with paddle attachment.  Beat on low-speed until mixture is completely cooled.  Increase speed to medium and add butter pieces one at a time.  Scrape the bowl and continue to beat until buttercream is glossy, smooth and thick.  It may separate at first, but continue beating and it will emulsify.  Add vanilla flavouring and pinch of salt and beat until combined.  Use immediately or refrigerate for a week.  Icing will need to be at room temperature and whipped for about 5 minutes if kept in the fridge.

Salted Caramel Sauce

*Cooking  Channel TV

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt

1.  In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.  Increase the heat to medium- high and bring to a boil, without stirring.  Use a wet pastry brush to wash down any sugar crystals on the side of the pan if you need to.  Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 7 minutes.

2  Remove mixture from the heat and very carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble a lot but keep mixing. Stir in the unsalted butter, and salt. Bring back to the stove on low heat and stir until you have a smooth sauce.  Allow the caramel to cool.   The salted caramel sauce will keep in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.  Reheat for a few seconds before drizzling if needed.

Cupcake Assembly

Pipe an icing dam around the perimeter of the top of the cake, with a large round tip, leaving a hole in the middle.  Using a small spoon carefully drizzle salted caramel into the hole.  Top with raw pepitas for garnish.  Serve at room temperature.

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Filed under Cup Cakes, Fondant and Icing, Sauces and Syrups

Chocolate Love

I have to tell you right off that I think I may have discovered the best chocolate frosting ever this week-end….

***squeal!!***

Like, if I could marry a frosting this would be the one.

If I could bathe in a frosting this would be the one.

Don`t judge me… this stuff is so darn chocolatey and rich and delicious.  Ruffled on top of a moist dark chocolate cake.   With a fresh and sweet strawberries on top?

You know you want it….

I thought I would give this recipe a whirl because my usual chocolate frosting just isn’t fudgey and chocolatey enough for me sometimes.  This is melted Belgian chocolate and cocoa whipped together with icing sugar and butter.

You had me at melted Belgian chocolate…..

I swirled some on top of my cupcakes and used some to make little tiny trifle cups.  These are just plastic wine cups that I layered with a cupcake, some icing and some diced berries.  Perfect to bring out to the patio after dinner.

Make it.  Then e-mail me right away and tell me that without a doubt this is the best chocolate and cupcake combo you have ever had.  Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

*adapted from What The Fruitcake?

Makes 24 cupcakes

3/4 cup strong hot coffee

3/4 cup dark cocoa

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups brown sugar

3 large eggs, room temperature

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp mayonnaise, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350°.  Line cupcake pans with 24 cupcake liners

1.  Whisk together coffee and cocoa in a small bowl and set aside.  Sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder in another small bowl and set aside.  Measure out buttermilk and mix with vanilla extract and set aside.

2.  In a large bowl cream together butter, sugar and salt.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating each egg in thoroughly and scraping the side of the bowl before adding the next egg.  Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until combined.  Add 1/2 of the buttermilk and mix until combined.  Repeat, ending with the last of the flour mixture.  Add the cocoa and coffee mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.  Fold in mayonnaise.

3.  Divide equally into prepared cupcake liners.  Bake for 16-18 mins or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Allow to cool thoroughly on wire racks before frosting.

Dark Chocolate Frosting

from Martha Stewart

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

  •                                         1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
  •                                         2 1/4 cups (4 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  •                                         3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  •                                         1/4 teaspoon salt
  •                                         1 1/2 pounds best-quality semi sweet chocolate, melted and cooled (I used Callebaut Bittersweet)

 1.   Combine cocoa and the boiling water, stirring until cocoa has dissolved.   Beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in the cocoa mixture.

This icing can be stored in the fridge for about a week.  Bring to room temperature and beat until smooth again.

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Hot Milk Cupcakes

I’m almost embarrassed to be telling you what kind of cupcakes I made.  I looked back on my previous posts and realized the last few have all been lemon flavoured.

Must be spring.  Must be related to my hopes for some warm sunny weather and spring blossoms.  I’m ready for it.

It seems to be taking its sweet time.

It really doesn’t matter what the flavour of icing is for these cupcakes, the cake is the real star here.   This is a recipe for old-fashioned Hot Milk Cake.    The texture is similar to a sponge cake, but not quite as dense and much more moist.  Just as it sounds, it’s the addition of a hot milk mixture right at the end of the recipe that makes these  so wonderful.  I added a vanilla bean to the milk as it was heating.  It gives it a little extra sweetness.

Can you see my cake looking on in the distance?  It has a creamy lemon curd filling and just a swirl of lemon buttercream on top.  I had enough batter for 20 cupcakes and a 6 inch cake.

I couldn’t resist the sugar dogwood for decoration.  This cupcake here, is the one I have received the most emails and comments about.  Ever.  It’s just gorgeous.  These are a smaller version of the dogwood that I purchased on-line.   The simple addition of a blossom can take a little cake to a whole new level.

Wouldn’t these be gorgeous in a big beautiful bakery box for mom on Mother’s Day?

Hot Milk Cupcakes

*adapted from Taste of Home

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • one vanilla bean split and scraped
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1-1/4 cups whole milk
  • 10 tablespoons butter, room temperature, cubed

1.  In a large bowl, beat eggs on high-speed for 5 minutes (don’t skimp on this step!) until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually add sugar, beating until mixture is light and fluffy and increased in volume. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, salt and baking powder; gradually add to batter just until combined.

2. In a small saucepan, heat milk, vanilla bean, seeds and butter just until butter is melted and mixture begins to bubble slightly at the side of the pan. Remove vanilla bean.  Gradually add milk to batter, a few tablespoons at a time; beat just until combined

3.  Pour into greased and floured 6 inch pan and 20 lined muffin cups.  You can also use a 9 x 13 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees until cake springs back when touched.   For the 6 inch pan approx 30 minutes, cupcakes approx 17 minutes and 9 x 13 pan approx 40 minutes.

4.  Top with icing, berries and cream or dust lightly with powdered sugar.  Enjoy.

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Spring Cupcakes and a Symbol of Hope

I always eagerly await the first signs of spring.  Bright and cheerful bursts of tulips and daffodils are a welcome sight after a cold, bland winter.   They invigorate us and announce to us that spring has sprung!

Thank you for arriving spring I am so ready for you!  I’m ready for open windows, bed sheets on the clothesline, sitting in the sun and drinks on the patio!

I thought these cupcakes would be the perfect fit for our Easter table.  Beautiful sunny yellows amid pops of white, blue and pink colours.

It’s doesn’t hurt when your pops of colour are candy coated and full of milk chocolate either.  Another wonderful sign of spring. Easter chocolate.

Remember here when I made lime cupcakes with Tequila frosting?  These are identical, just substitute the lime for lemon.  Omit the step of brushing on the Tequila.   Swirl on a generous amount of Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream (below).  These  are keeper lemon cupcakes.  Really moist with a good hit of lemon followed by, you guessed it, the creamiest lemony Swiss Meringue icing.

Did you know April is also Daffodil Month for the Canadian and American Cancer Society? Daffodils are a symbol of hope for those living with cancer.  Unfortunately everyone has a cancer story.  All of the monies raised from the Daffodil Campaign go to life saving cancer research.

I hope this spring leaves you feeling rejuvenated.  I hope spring has sprung where you live!  Happy Easter everyone.

Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd or lemon pie filling (or more to taste)

1. Fill a saucepan (large enough to fit your mixing bowl just a few inches) with two inches of water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low so water continues to simmer.

2. In your stand mixer bowl, hand whisk the egg whites and the sugar just until combined. Place over simmering pot and whisk for approx 4 mins until the egg whites are hot (about 150 degrees). The sugar should be dissolved by this time as well. Place bowl on stand mixer and attach the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until whites have increased in volume, are thick and glossy and the outside of the bowl is just slightly warm to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes!).

3. Remove whisk attachment and replace with paddle attachment. Beat on low-speed until mixture is completely cooled. Increase speed to medium and add butter pieces one at a time. Scrape the bowl and continue to beat until buttercream is glossy, smooth and thick. It may separate at first, but continue beating and it will emulsify. Add vanilla flavouring, a pinch of salt and lemon curd and beat until combined. Use immediately.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Have a glass of milk handy for these yummy things.

This is a ‘need a sugar fix’, ‘dying for some cookie dough’, and  ‘want some comfort food’ kind of dessert all wrapped into one.  A dense and sweet Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcake with cookie dough baked right into the middle.

Why choose between cookie and cake when you can have both?   I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for quite some time and had the opportunity to use it this week-end.  It’s from the wonderfully written blog Kevin and Amanda .  The cookie dough has no eggs in it, so no worries about raw eggs sitting in your cupcakes!  Brilliant Amanda!

These tasted so fantastic just shortly after coming out of the oven.  Still a touch warm.  Like a warm cookie.

The key to these cupcakes is to freeze the cookie dough the night before so it doesn’t bake when you bake the cupcake.

Like these, see?

I used Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream on top of mine.  It’s sweet but not overly sweet so goes well with the loaded cookie dough cake.  You can find the recipe for that here, but don’t include the rum syrup in the recipe.

Cookie Dough

1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp whole milk
1 tbsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips

1.  Combine the butter and sugars in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.   Beat in milk and vanilla until incorporated and smooth. Mix in the flour and salt until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

2.  Using a small scoop, shape the dough into balls or tubes. Freeze on a parchment lined baking sheet overnight.

Cupcakes

1 1/2 c unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners .

1.    Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.   In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and brown sugar. Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.   Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Add the vanilla and mix well.

2.  Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl on low-speed, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing each addition just until incorporated.

3.  Using an ice cream scoop, fill the prepared cupcake liners 2/3 full with the cupcake batter. Place a frozen cookie dough ball on the top center of each cupcake.  Bake at 350 for 16-18 mins.

Remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool and if you haven’t eaten them all up, top them off with a swirl of Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Enjoy!

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Dogwood Flower Tutorial

Remember last week when I said I would post pictures of how I made my Dogwood Flower out of White Modelling Chocolate?

When you see how simple this really is, you won’t believe it!

First, make your modelling chocolate and let it sit for a day or so at room temperature.  The recipe can be found here.  Get all of your supplies ready.

Then roll out some White Modelling Chocolate and cut it out with your Dogwood Cutter.

Now, I have two different steps here, because not everyone owns a flower veiner.  I didn’t until just recently.  I used to use my little paint brush or a sucker stick or a toothpick to make vein impressions.

You can gently press the flower onto the veiner.

Or, you can use whatever tool you have handy to achieve similar results!

Place your formed flower in a little bowl that you have covered in foil.  This is an easy way to make a flower former for drying.

You can use your paintbrush to help you form the flower petals and give them some movement.

I am using just a tiny bit of brown and red dust, mixed together, to lightly brush the tips of the petals.   Can you see the cupcake in the distance?

I think it’s watching me.  Waiting for its turn….

I have some teeny chocolate balls, that I rolled, in a dish getting ready for centre stage.  I rolled them and then lightly dusted them with green lustre dust.

Here’s a little dollop of melted white chocolate that I am using for glue.

The little balls have been added to the centre of the flower.

It’s starting to take shape now!

The branches I made with dark modelling chocolate.  Remember here when I made my Dark Chocolate Roses?

Everyone is lined up, awaiting assembly.   I let mine dry for a full day on the counter before assembling.

This icing is a beautiful sage green Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  Delicious!

Tah dah!  Finished product. 

How easy is that?  And so impressive.  And so yummy.

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White Modelling Chocolate

Want to know the best thing about this cupcake?

Besides the fact that it’s elegant and gorgeous looking, it’s entirely chocolate.  Cake, icing,  branches and flower.  The cake and icing don’t matter here (even though I believe cake and icing ALWAYS matter, just read on for a minute here…).    Today’s post is about the chocolate flower on top.

I’ve made the dark modelling chocolate before.  It’s one of the posts I receive the most mail about.  Remember here?  So I thought I would leave the recipe for the white as well.   I don’t think the white hardens as firm as the dark (still quite firm though), but it tastes just as yummy!

The best part about modelling chocolate?   No “glue” required and flowers firm up fairly quickly.  This flower takes just a little chocolate and some coloured lustre dust for accents.  Remember though, it is chocolate so it doesn’t tolerate heat!

I promise this will be a two-part post with a tutorial for the flowers to follow.  My hubby, who is also my photographer, is also a snowplow driver and we have been hit with a lot of snow today.  Needless to say I’m on my own, so I’ll have to wait until he’s here to finish up the tutorial.

I just love a dogwood flower.  It’s such an elegant flower.  Wouldn’t these be great for a wedding?  Shower perhaps?  Garden party?

Check out the Hungry Happenings site for fantastic information about working with chocolate.  While you’re there, check out some of the yummy creations!  This is where I get my recipe for modelling chocolate from.

White Modelling Chocolate

*from Hungry Happenings 

  • 16 oz good quality Belgian White Chocolate
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup (more if needed)

1.  Melt chocolate over a double boiler.  Let chocolate cool to 91 degrees F, stirring often.  Pour in the corn syrup and mix well.   If the mixture is crumbly, add a little more corn syrup.  I do not knead mine at this stage as recommended, I put it in a sealable plastic bag and let it sit at room temperature for atleast 24 hours.  It will be quite hard when you start to knead it.  To soften it up a bit, pop it in the microwave for only a few seconds.

2.  Keep leftovers wrapped in plastic and sealed in an airtight container at room temperature.  Leave chocolate creations at room temperature to firm up and then store in an air tight container (at room temp).

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French Vanilla Cupcakes with Maraschino Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Pretty soon Valentine’s Day will be upon us.  I know that there are some who think it’s so over rated, but I can’t help but feel excited about what kind of card or flowers my sweet Valentine has picked out for me.

I am ‘that’ mom who puts heart-shaped things in the kids lunches, even though they are well into junior grades and almost into highschool.

So I wanted to have a few posts dedicated to some Valentines treats because I have so many cute things rolling around in my brain.  This is the first post, my French Vanilla Cupcakes with Maraschino Swiss Meringue Buttercream. 

 

I am always on a quest for a good vanilla cupcake.   You know which kind really tastes the best?  The cake mix kind.  They have such wonderful vanilla flavour and are so light and fluffy.  I have yet to find this in a scratch version.   Not that there is anything wrong with a box version!  To me, well, for some reason it just feels like cheating.

Do not despair…I am not one to give up….on cake.

I really love the way these turned out.  Wouldn’t you love to have one of these waiting for you on Valentine’s Day?

Perhaps waiting on your desk, or in your lunch?  Sitting outside your door?

Just a little surprise that says “you’re sweet!”

The toppers are just some cherries made out of fondant and coated with cake glitter.  I did happen to have real cherries in the fridge that I stole the stems off of.

I’m not going to include the Vanilla Cake recipe because it needs some work!  Use your favourite Vanilla Cupcake recipe and top with the Maraschino Swiss Meringue Buttercream (recipe below).

Maraschino Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup pureed maraschino cherries (I also included a few tsp of the syrup)

*just an update…if you find the cherry icing doesn’t have a strong enough cherry flavour, add a few drops of cherry oil which can be found at most baking supply stores.

1. Fill a saucepan (large enough to fit your mixing bowl just a few inches) with two inches of water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low so water continues to simmer.

2. In your stand mixer bowl, hand whisk the egg whites and the sugar just until combined. Place over simmering pot and whisk for approx 4 mins until the egg whites are hot (about 150 degrees). The sugar should be dissolved by this time as well. Place bowl on stand mixer and attach the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until whites have increased in volume, are thick and glossy and the outside of the bowl is just slightly warm to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes!).

3. Remove whisk attachment and replace with paddle attachment. Beat on low-speed until mixture is completely cooled. Increase speed to medium and add butter pieces one at a time. Scrape the bowl and continue to beat until buttercream is glossy, smooth and thick. It may separate at first, but continue beating and it will emulsify. Add vanilla flavouring, a pinch of salt and cherry puree (to taste) and beat until combined.   Use immediately.

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Small Batch Chocolate Vanilla Bean Latte Cupcakes

Remember a while ago when I said I would post a recipe for small batch cupcakes?

Please forgive me but I forgot….

And, I forgot that I forgot until this week-end when I decided to make them again for this post…

See, I am constantly searching on Pinterest looking for cake stands and baking inspiration.  Man there are some creative people out there!  There are ruffle shirts and scarves, ruffle cakes, ruffle dresses and gowns, you name it!

I decided that if you can make a ruffle flower out of a t-shirt in less than 10 minutes, surely I could follow the same instructions and make one out of fondant!

I think it turned out pretty cute and overall was really easy.  Like no brainer kind of easy.  So I needed a small batch of cupcakes just to show you how it turned out.  The instructions I followed are here from A Bit of Sunshine.  What a cute site!

I used it to garnish a Chocolate Cupcake with some Vanilla Bean Latte Swiss Meringue Buttercream.   I have yet to find a Swiss Meringue Buttercream that I don’t like.  It’s smooth and creamy and full of flavour.  It’s that simple.  The cupcakes are surprisingly moist for such a small batch and had gorgeous rounded tops!  Perfect, when you just need a nibble of something sweet.

Small Batch Chocolate Cupcakes

*from Small Batch Baking, from Debby Maugans Nakos

yield 4 standard size cupcakes

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp buttermilk, room temp
  • 1 large egg, room temp
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line four muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. Combine the buttermilk, egg and vanilla in a small bowl, and whisk to mix. Gradually pour the melted butter into the buttermilk mixture, whisking constantly.
  3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium-size mixing bowl, and then whisk to blend well. Add the sugar and whisk to combine. Add the buttermilk mixture and whisk just until the dry ingredients are moistened.
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared liners and until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, 16 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  6. Frost with Vanilla Bean Latte Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

Vanilla Bean Latte Swiss Meringue Buttercream

*note: this will make approx 2 1/2 cups of frosting.  You will have extra!

  • 1 cup unsalted butter cubed, at room temperature
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 vanilla bean split with seeds scraped out
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp of instant espresso powder dissolved in 2 tsp water

1.  Fill a saucepan (large enough to fit your mixing bowl just a few inches) with two inches of water.  Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low so water continues to simmer.

2.  In your stand mixer bowl, hand whisk the egg whites and the sugar just until combined.  Place over simmering pot and whisk for approx 4 mins until the egg whites are hot (about 150 degrees).  The sugar should be dissolved by this time as well.  Place bowl on stand mixer and attach the whisk attachment.  Whisk on medium until whites have increased in volume and the outside of the bowl is just slightly warm to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes!).

3.  Remove whisk attachment and replace with paddle attachment.  Beat on low-speed until mixture is completely cooled.  Increase speed to medium and add butter pieces one at a time.  Scrape the bowl and continue to beat until buttercream is glossy, smooth and thick.  It may separate at first, but continue beating and it will emulsify.  Add vanilla flavouring, vanilla seeds, a pinch of salt and espresso and beat until combined.  Use immediately.

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