• Easy Chocolate Cupcake Decorating

    How to make Easy Chocolate Cupcake Decorating

    Prep Time: 25 minutes

    Ingredients

    Tempered chocolate (tutorial here)

    OR

    Melting, decorating, or dipping chocolate, melted (should contain NO cocoa butter)

    Directions

    For piped designed:

    Use a printable guide inserted into a sheet protector or placed under semi-translucent parchment or wax paper to get started, if desired.

    Transfer the tempered chocolate to a squeeze bottle or small piping or ziptop bag with a small hole snipped in one corner. Hold bag about 1-inch above the sheet then gently squeeze, tracing the designers. Squeeze with even pressure but stop before you think you should as the chocolate will continue flowing.

    Fill any gaps with the tip of a toothpick. Allow the chocolate to set completely in the fridge, about 15 minutes, before carefully peeling and placing on your cupcakes.

    For shard or shaped designs

    Scoop chocolate onto a small sheet of parchment paper and spread out evenly with an offset spatula, keeping about a 1-inch border on all edges. Pick up and gently drop the parchment on the counter a few times to spread out evenly and release any air bubbles. Sprinkle with sprinkles, decorations, or finely chopped candy.

    Allow the chocolate to set just until it’s dry to the touch but still flexible. Use a knife to square off all the edges. Make cuts into the chocolate into shapes you desire. Alternatively, you could also use a cookie cutter to cut shapes. If the cookie cutter is sticking, allow the chocolate to set and harden for a few more minutes before continuing with the shapes.

    Allow the chocolate to set completely in the fridge, about 15 minutes, before carefully peeling and placing on your cupcakes.

  • The Best Chocolate Cupcakes

    How to make The Best Chocolate Cupcakes

    Yield: 12 cupcakes

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 25 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the cupcakes:

    4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
    1/3 cup (1 ounce) Dutch-process cocoa
    1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
    1/2 cup boiling water
    3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (4 ounces) all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    2 large eggs plus one egg yolk, at room temperature
    2 teaspoons white vinegar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    For the frosting:

    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    2 large egg whites
    Pinch salt
    12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and at room temperature
    6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Directions

    Make the cupcakes:

    In a medium heatproof bowl add the chocolate, cocoa powder, and espresso powder. Pour hot water over mixture. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk mixture gently until smooth then set aside to cool.

    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with foil or paper liners.

    In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda.

    Whisk sour cream, oil, eggs, egg yolk, vinegar, and vanilla into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until smooth, being careful not to overmix.

    Using a spring-loaded scoop, divide the batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Bake until cupcakes are set and firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Let cupcakes cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan to cool completely, about 1 hour. Cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.

    Make the frosting:

    Combine the sugar, egg whites, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set bowl over a saucepan filled with 1-inch of gently simmering water. Whisking gently and constantly, heat mixture until sugar is dissolved and mixture is slightly thickened and foamy and registers 150°F on a candy thermometer or a digital thermometer, about 3 minutes.

    Fit stand mixer with whisk attachment and beat the egg white mixture on medium speed until slightly cooled and thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the butter, 1 piece at a time, until smooth and creamy. If the mixture looks curdled, that’s okay. Just keep beating until it becomes smooth.

    Add chocolate and vanilla and mix until combined. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light, fluffy, and well combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

    Frosting can be made 1 day ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Warm frosting in the microwave for 5 to 10 seconds and stir until creamy again before frosting cupcakes.

    Frosting can also be transferred to a ziptop bag and frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost in the fridge overnight then rewhip in the stand mixer until light and smooth.

  • Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

    How to make Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

    Yield: 18

    Prep Time: 25 minutes

    Cook: 35 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the Cupcakes:

    1 3/4 cup flour
    3/4 cup cocoa powder
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
    1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3/4 cup buttermilk
    2 eggs
    1/3 cup vegetable oil
    1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    1/2 cup hot water

    For the Icing:

    5 tablespoons butter
    2 tablespoons cocoa powder
    2 tablespoons milk
    1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

    For the Topping:

    1/4 cup Mallow Bits
    Whipped cream

    Directions

    For the Cupcakes:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line muffin tin with baking cups.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix flour, cocoa, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the buttermilk, eggs, vegetalbe oil, and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Scrape bowl as needed. With the mixer on slow speed, add the hot water and mix until combined.

    Use an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measuring cup to fill baking cups 2/3 full. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes and then move to a cooling rack to cool completely.

    For the Icing:

    Place butter, cocoa powder, and milk in a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the powdered sugar until smooth.

    Working one at a time, dip the tops of each cupcakes into the icing and immeiately sprinkle half the cupcake with Mallow Bits. (If the icing in the pot starts to dry and set up, just set it back on the stove for about 20 seconds while whisking until it thins again.) Let the icing set before adding the whipped cream. Serve immediately. (Wait to add the whipped cream until ready to serve. If you pipe the whipped cream on you’ll need to store the cupcakes in the fridge.)

  • Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

    How to make Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting

    Yield: 12 cupcakes

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 1 hour 6 minutes

    Enjoy caramel and apples in the form of a cupcake with these sweet and salty Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting.

    Ingredients

    For the Frosting:

    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 cup water
    1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    12 tablespoons (6 ounces) butter, room temperature
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 cup powdered sugar

    For the Cupcakes:

    1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    4 tablespoons (2 ounces) butter, room temperature
    1 egg
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    6 tablespoons buttermilk
    1 1/2 cups shredded apple, peeled

    Directions

    For the Frosting:

    Stir sugar and water together in a small pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. (You can stir it up until the sugar dissolves but then DO NOT STIR while it boils or else it will form crystals). Let it boil for 5-6 minutes or until it starts to turn a light caramel brown color. Remove from heat and slowly stream in the cream while stirring. Stir in the vanilla. Let it cool to room temperature (about 30 minutes).

    Meanwhile, make the cupcakes. (This is also when I take the butter out of the fridge for the frosting.)

    Once the caramel is cool, in a standing mixer, use the paddle attachment to beat the butter and salt together for 3 minutes at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and mix it in starting with a low speed. Add half of the caramel (reserve the rest for drizzling) and beat for 2 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy (scrape the sides of the bowl as needed).
    Place frosting in a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Drizzle with caramel and serve.

    For the Cupcakes:

    Preheat the oven to 350 degree F and line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake paper liners.

    In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and ginger together. Set aside.

    In the bowl of a standing mixer beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Mix in the flour mixture a little at a time until just combined and then add the buttermilk and mix until combined. Fold in the shredded apple.

    Spoon batter into cupcake liners filling them 3/4 full (about 1/4 cup). Bake for 22-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

    Let cupcakes cool for a few minutes in the tin and then remove onto a rack to cool completely before frosting.

    Frosting recipe: Chowhound

  • Cheesecake Filled Chocolate Bundt Cake

    How to make Cheesecake Filled Chocolate Bundt Cake

    Yield: 12 servings

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook: 1 hour 10 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the filling:

    8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

    For the cake:

    3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
    6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
    1 tablespoon espresso powder
    3/4 cup boiling water
    1 3/4 cups (7.87 ounces) all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
    1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    2 cups packed light brown sugar
    1 tablespoon vanilla
    5 large eggs, at room temperature

    For the glaze:

    1/2 cup heavy cream
    2 teaspoons corn syrup
    4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.

    For the filling:

    In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until well combined. Add the egg, vanilla, and flour until well combined. Set aside.

    For the cake:

    Combine the cocoa, chocolate, and espresso powder in a large bowl. Pour the boiling water into the bowl and cover. Let stand for 5 minutes. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.

    Whisk the chocolate mixture until it is smooth. Let cool to room temperature. When it has cooled, whisk in the sour cream.

    In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla for about 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until combined. On low speed gradually add the flour mixture and the melted chocolate mixture alternatively, beginning and ending with the flour, until the batter is smooth.

    Pour a little more than half the batter into the prepared pan. Pour the cheesecake filling into the center of the batter, not allowing it to touch the edges of the pan. Pour the remaining batter of the filling.

    Bake the cake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn the cake out and let cool completely.

    For the glaze:

    In a small saucepan heat the cream and corn syrup over medium heat until hot. Remove from heat and add the chocolate, whisking until smooth. Let cool slightly until thickened. Drizzle over the cake. Let the glaze set at room temperature, about 10 minutes, before serving.

    Adapted from this recipe

  • Salted Caramel Toffee Cupcakes

    How to make Salted Caramel Toffee Cupcakes

    Yield: 12 cupcakes

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook: 1 hour

    The chocolate caramel frosting calls for caramel sauce. You can make your own using this homemade tutorial, or purchase a high quality jar from the store. I prefer Trader Joe’s salted caramel sauce!

    Ingredients

    For the vanilla toffee cupcakes:

    1 1/2 cups (6.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon fine salt
    1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1/2 cup whole milk or buttermilk
    1/2 cup mik chocolate toffee bits

    For the chocolate caramel frosting:

    1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
    2 cups confectioners’ sugar
    4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
    2 tablespoons cocoa powder
    2 tablespoons milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 cup caramel sauce, homemade or purchased
    Milk chocolate toffee bits, for garnish
    Flaky sea salt, for garnish

    Directions

    For the cupcakes

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a standard muffin tin with nonstick cupcake liners.

    In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, and beat until combined. Add in the vanilla. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture in three separate batches, alternating with the milk. Beat on medium-high speed until just combined. Fold in the toffee chips.

    Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops spring back when touched. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

    For the frosting:

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase the speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the chocolate, cocoa powder, milk, and vanilla and beat on medium for 1 minute, or until well combined. Add in the caramel and beat until very well combined.

    Spread onto the cooled cupcakes with a small offset spatula. Sprinkle with toffee chips and flaky salt.

  • Chocolate Pound Cake
  • Banana Split Cupcakes

    How to make Banana Split Cupcakes

    Yield: 12 cupcakes

    Prep Time: 45 minutes

    Cook: 1 hour

    Banana cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting, chocolate ganache, sprinkles, whipped cream, and a cherry on top.

    Ingredients

    For the Cupcakes:

    1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    2 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
    1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    5 tablespoons butter, softened
    3/4 cup sugar
    2/3 cup mashed banana
    1/3 cup buttermilk
    2 eggs

    For the Frosting:

    1 cup butter
    1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    3 cups powdered sugar
    2-3 tablespoons cream or milk

    For the ganache:

    1/2 cup whipping cream
    2/3 cup chocolate chips

    For the Toppings:

    Sprinkles
    Whipped cream
    12 Maraschino cherries

    Directions

    For the Cupcakes:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcakes liners.
    In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
    Use can electric mixer to beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix in the the banana, buttermilk, and eggs until combined. Add in the dry ingredients a little at a time while mixing, until combined. Divide batter among the liners (an ice cream scoop works perfect for this!) and bake for 15-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
    Remove cupcakes from tin and allow to cool on a rack.

    For the Frosting:

    With an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Add cream until you get desired consistency. Place in a piping back that is fitted with a large round tip and then pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

    For the ganache:

    Place chocolate chips in a bowl and set aside. Place whipping cream in another dish and microwave until hot (about 45 seconds). Pour hot whipping cream over the chocolate chips and let it sit for 2 minutes and then stir together until completely melted and combined. Allow the ganache for cool down for a few minutes before spooning on too of the frosting.

    For the Toppings:

    Add sprinkles on top of the ganache. Pipe a little whipped cream on and then top with a cherry. Serve. (Cupcakes can be made ahead of time but wait to add the whipped cream and cherry until shortly before serving OR you can just keep the cupcakes in the fridge all ready to go.)

  • Banana Hazelnut Cake

    How to make Banana Hazelnut Cake

    Yield: 10

    Prep Time: 40 minutes

    Cook: 1 hour 25 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the Cake:

    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup cornstarch
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    7 tablespoons butter, softened
    1 1/3 cups sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 cup (about 2) mashed bananas
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    3/4 cup chopped hazelnuts

    For the Frosting:

    1/2 cup flour
    1 cup milk
    1/2 cup whipping cream
    1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter
    1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (NOT powdered sugar)
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    1/3 cup Nutella or hazelnut spread
    1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts

    Directions

    For the Cake:

    Preheat oven to 375°F (350° if your pans are dark). Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.

    In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, starch, baking powder, soda, and salt. Set aside.

    In a medium mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Beat in the eggs until smooth and then add the bananas and buttermilk, mixing until fully incorporated. Stir in the flour until just combined. Fold in the hazelnuts. Spread equally into two pans.

    Bake for 22-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 5 minutes on a cooling rack and then remove from pans onto rack to cool completely.

    For the Frosting:

    In a small sauce pan, whisk together cream and flour. Add milk and heat over medium-high heat whisking constantly. Cook until it turns into a thick sauce like pudding. Remove from heat and pour into a shallow container. Place in fridge or freezer and stir every 5 minutes until it has cooled to at least room temperature.

    In the bowl of a standing mixer, use the whisk attachment to beat the butter and sugar for 2 minutes or until fluffy. Add the cooled milk mixture, Nutella, and vanilla and beat for 6-10 minutes until it comes together and is fluffy. If the frosting is too airy, switch to using the paddle attachment and beat on low for 2-4 minutes.

    Assembling the Cake:

    Place one cake on a cake stand and top with one fourth of the frosting. Place the second cake on top upside-down. Apply a thin layer of frosting on the top and sides of cake to create a crumb layer. Place cake in the fridge for 30-60 minutes and then frost the top and sides. Pipe additional decorations on top. Sprinkle the top of the cake with chopped hazelnuts and press more into the sides.

    Banana Cake- adapted from Sweet Serendipity; Frosting- inspired by Our Best Bites