• Black Forest Cupcakes

    How to make Black Forest Cupcakes

    Yield: 16 cupcakes

    Prep Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

    Cook: 20 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the chocolate cupcakes:

    1 cup all purpose flour
    1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/3 cup oil
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    1/2 cup boiling water
    1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

    For the cherry filling:

    2 cups pitted and halved sweet cherries
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 cup water
    2 tablespoons cornstarch
    2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    For the whipped cream:

    2 tablespoons water
    1 and 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
    1 and 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
    1/3 cup powdered sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Directions

    To make the chocolate cupcakes:

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 12-count cupcake pans with 16 cupcake liners and set aside.

    In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk in the granulated sugar and brown sugar until well combined. Add in the oil, egg, vanilla extract, and buttermilk and mix until just combined.

    Add the instant espresso powder into the boiling water and mix until dissolved, then add to the mixing bowl. Mix with the rest of the ingredients until well combined, making sure not to over mix the batter. The batter will be thin, this is okay.

    Evenly distribute the batter between all 16 cupcakes liners, making sure to only fill them a little over half way full. Bake at 350°F for 18-20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the cupcakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the cupcakes from the pan. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool.

    To make the cherry filling:

    Add the cherries, granulated sugar, lemon juice, water, and corn starch to a saucepan and mix until well combined. Heat over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture has thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, then set aside to cool.

    To make the whipped cream:

    Pour the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the unflavored gelatin on top. Allow to sit for a few minutes. Transfer to the microwave and microwave for a few seconds until the gelatin has dissolved. Stir well and set aside to cool for a few minutes.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer, add the heavy whipped cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla and mix on medium speed until it starts to thicken. Turn the mixer to low, slowly pour in the gelatin, then continue mixing at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.

    To make the cupcakes:

    Once the cupcakes and cherry filling have cooled, use a knife to cut out a hole in the center of each cupcake. Scoop about 1-1.5 tablespoons of the cherry filling into each cupcake. Then pipe the whipped cream on top. Garnish with chocolate shavings and a cherry on top!

    Chocolate cupcakes adapted from Hersheys Stabilized Whipped Cream adapted from Food.com

  • Ultimate Nutella Cupcakes

    How to make Ultimate Nutella Cupcakes

    Yield: 12 cupcakes

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 20 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the chocolate cupcakes:

    4 ounces (113 grams) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
    1/3 cup (30 grams) Dutch-process cocoa
    1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
    1/2 cup boiling water
    3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (113 grams) all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
    1/4 cup (50 grams) packed light brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 cup (114 grams) sour cream, at room temperature
    1/4 cup (50 grams) vegetable oil
    2 large eggs plus one egg yolk, at room temperature
    2 teaspoons white vinegar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    For the filling:

    1/2 cup (150 grams) Nutella

    For the Nutella buttercream:

    2 cups (250 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
    8 ounces (227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    2/3 cup (200 grams) Nutella
    1/4 teaspoon fine salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Ferrero rocher candies, for topping

    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, sugars, 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.

    Fill the cupcakes:

    Use an apple corer or small paring knife to remove the center of each cupcake, being careful not to remove the bottom.

    Place the Nutella in a ziptop bag and snip a hole in one corner. Gently squeeze 2 teaspoons of Nutella into each cupcake.

    Make 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 Nutella, salt, and vanilla and beat on medium for 1 minute, or until well combined.

    Fit a piping bag with a decorative tip and frost all the cupcakes. Top with a Ferrero Rocher candy, if desired. Serve or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day, or in the fridge for up to 3 days.

  • Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

    How to make Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

    Yield: about 15 cupcakes

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 20 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the cupcakes:

    1 3/4 cups (222 grams) all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
    1/4 cup (50 grams) lightly packed brown sugar
    2 large eggs plus one egg yolk, at room temperature
    1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
    2 lemons, zested and juiced
    3/4 cup (115 grams) fresh blueberries
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

    For the buttercream:

    3/4 cup (115 grams) fresh blueberries
    3 cups (306 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
    2 sticks (227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/4 teaspoon fine salt
    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    1 to 2 tablespoons heavy or whipping cream
    Lemon zest, for garnish

    Directions

    Make the cupcakes:

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two standard muffin tins with 15 paper liners.

    In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

    In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to beat the butter and sugars until fluffy and very well combined, about 3 minutes. On medium-low speed , add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, until combined. Add the buttermilk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until combined.

    In a small bowl toss the blueberries with the 2 tablespoons of flour. Add into the batter and fold with a spatula until combined. Be careful not to overmix.

    Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tins, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

    Make the buttercream:

    Using a blender, immersion blender or food processor, puree the blueberries. Pass the pureed blueberries through a fine mesh strainer and into a medium bowl to remove the skins. Set aside.

    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 salt and vanilla and beat on medium for 1 minute.

    Remove half of the buttercream to the bowl with the blueberry puree and stir until well combined. If the buttercream is too thin, add more powdered sugar to thicken. If desired, add a few drops of purple food coloring to enhance the blueberry color.

    To the plain buttercream, add the cream and beat until well combined.

    Swirled Piping

    In a large piping bag fitted with a decorative tip (such as the Ateco #846), use a spoon to scoop the plain frosting into one section of the bag, using your finger on the outside of the bag to help scrape it off. Repeat with the blueberry frosting. Ensure you’re aligning the frosting so it starts at the same place in the bag. Don’t worry if the colors touch each other.

    Squeeze the bag to slightly blur the colors together for a watercolor type effect. Twist the bag and squeeze out a test pipe to ensure the colors are coming out evenly before piping onto your cupcakes. Garnish frosted cupcakes with lemon zest.

    Serve or store at room temperature for up to 1 day, or in the fridge for up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature before serving.

  • How to Prevent Cupcake Liners from Sticking
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

    How to make Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

    Yield: About 8 to 10 servings

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 20 minutes

    The bread flour helps create a chewy texture. If you don’t have any, use all AP flour. But I’d highly suggest picking some up on your next grocery run because it’s my fave trick for chewy cookies!

    Ingredients

    For the chocolate chip cookie base:

    2 sticks (227 grams) unsalted butter, melted
    1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
    1 1/4 cups (247 grams) lightly packed dark brown sugar
    1 tablespoon milk
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
    1 1/2 cups (191 grams) all-purpose flour
    1 1/4 cups (159 grams) bread flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon cornstarch
    1 teaspoon fine sea salt
    2 cups (340 grams) semi sweet chocolate chips

    For the buttercream:

    1 1/2 cups (153 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
    4 ounces (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    Pinch fine salt
    2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 tablespoons cream or milk

    Sprinkles, for garnishing

    Directions

    For the cookie base:

    In a large mixing bowl, stir together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until well combined.

    Stir in the eggs, milk, and vanilla until well combined. Gradually beat in the flours, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips. Bake now or cover the dough and refrigerate until ready to bake.

    When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch spring-form pan with nonstick cooking spray.

    Press the cookie dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown but not overcooked. Let cool completely.

    For the buttercream:

    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 salt, vanilla, and cream and beat on medium for 1 minute, adding more cream if needed.

    Spread all over the cooled cookie cake then garnish with sprinkles. Serve or cover and let stand at room temperature for up to 1 day, or refrigerated for up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature before serving.

  • 3 Ways to Make Swirled Cupcake Frosting

    How to make 3 Ways to Make Swirled Cupcake Frosting

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Ingredients

    1 batch of buttercream frosting
    Gel food coloring (I like Wilton or Americolor)
    Piping bags
    Decorative piping tips (I used Wilton 1M)

    Directions

    Double bag technique

    Fill two small disposable piping bags with different colored or flavored frosting. Use scissors to snip holes in the bottoms of both bags. Insert both bags into a large (16”) disposable piping bag fitted with a decorative tip, making sure the two bags are aligned by squeezing and twisting the large bag. Squeeze out a test pip to ensure the colors are coming out evenly.

    Plastic wrap technique

    Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface. Spoon one color or flavor of your buttercream frosting in a log down the center. Repeat with the second color or flavor, spooning it parallel alongside the first color.

    Fold the plastic wrap over to shape it into a two-toned log. Twist the excess plastic to seal the buttercream inside. Drop the plastic wrap log into a large pastry bag fitted with a decorative piping tip, using the excess plastic wrap to pull the log through the opening of the bag. Refrigerate for 10 minutes before frosting your cupcakes. Squeeze out a test pip to ensure the colors are coming out evenly.

    Spatula Striping

    In a large piping bag fitted with a decorative tip, use a spoon to scoop one color of frosting into one section of the bag, using your finger on the outside of the bag to help scrape it off. Repeat with your remaining color(s). Ensure you’re aligning the frosting so it starts at the same place in the bag. Squeeze the bag to slightly blur the colors together for a rainbow type effect. Twist the bag and frost your cupcakes. Squeeze out a test pip to ensure the colors are coming out evenly.

  • Mini Sour Cream Chocolate Cakes

    How to make Mini Sour Cream Chocolate Cakes

    Yield: 10 mini cakes

    Prep Time: 1 hour

    Cook: 20 minutes

    Ingredients

    Chocolate Cake

    1 cup and 1 tablespoon (250 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
    1 cup (200 grams) caster sugar
    3/4 cup (135 grams) brown sugar
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    3 large eggs, room temperature
    1/2 cup (120ml) hot water
    1 and 3/4 cup (245 grams) plain flour
    3/4 cup (60 grams) cocoa powder
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 cup (240 ml) sour cream, room temperature

    Chocolate frosting

    1/2 cup (1 stick or 115 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
    3 cups (375 grams) powdered or icing sugar
    2-3 tablespoons milk
    2/3 cup (100 grams) semi-sweet or dark chocolate, pieces
    Extra chocolate shavings for decorating

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 360 F (180 C). Prepare a 12-cup mini loose bottom dessert tin with butter (My dessert tin features 2 x 3 inch cups). In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars with an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add the vanilla extract. Then add one egg at a time and continue to beat until mixture is combined and creamy. Boil the kettle and pour out 1/2 cup water and set aside.

    In a separate bowl, sift the plain flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda and lightly whisk. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, along with the hot water and gently fold with a spatula. Add the sour cream and fold until the mixture is combined.

    Carefully spoon the cake mixture into your prepared cake tin – it makes 10 mini cakes. Pop into the oven for 20 minutes or until the cake springs back lightly to the touch. Leave the cakes to cool for about 5 minutes before carefully transferring the cakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

    To make the chocolate frosting, place your softened butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Sift in your powdered or icing sugar, add your milk and beat until combined. Meanwhile melt the chocolate in a microwave, stirring in between 20 second bursts, until just melted.

    Next you will want to add in your melted chocolate to the buttercream mixture, ensuring the chocolate is smooth and melted but is not warm at all. Beat until the chocolate is completely mixed through. Use a small spatula to spread the frosting onto the cakes, then sprinkle over a few chocolate shavings.

     

  • Twix Chocolate Layer Cake

    How to make Twix Chocolate Layer Cake

    Yield: One 8 inch layer cake

    Prep Time: 1 hour

    Cook: 45 minutes

    Ingredients

    Chocolate cake

    2 cups (280 grams) plain flour
    1 cup (80 grams) cocoa powder
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1 and 1/2 cup (300 grams) caster sugar
    1/2 cup (90 grams) brown sugar
    1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
    3/4 cup (180 ml) vegetable oil
    2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3 large eggs, room temperature
    1 cup (240 ml) hot water

    Caramel frosting

    1/2 cup (115 grams or 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
    2 and 1/2 cups (325 grams) powdered or icing sugar
    1/2 cup (120 ml) salted caramel sauce
    Twix bars, chopped
    Shortbread cookies, crumbled
    Extra caramel sauce for drizzling

    Directions

    Preheat your oven to 360 F (180 C). Grease and line two 8 inch round cake tins. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Then add the sugars. Whisk together. In a separate mixing bowl, add the buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla and eggs. Whisk together.

    Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Start to fold together, slowly pour in the hot water, and continue to mix until all the ingredients are incorporated. Divide the mixture into the two cake tins and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave for 10 minutes before gently removing the cakes from their tins and leave them to cool completely on a wire rack.

    To make the frosting, add the butter to a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered or icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add the caramel sauce and continue to beat until creamy.

    To frost the cakes, you may need to trim off the dome of the cakes using a large serrated knife or a cake cutter. Then, add half the frosting to the top of one chocolate cake and then add the other chocolate cake on top. Frost with the remainder of the caramel frosting. Finally, top with chopped Twix bars, crushed shortbread cookies and drizzle with any extra caramel sauce.

  • How to Make Decorative Carrots

    How to make Decorative Carrots

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Ingredients

    Method 1: Buttercream

    Small batch of buttercream
    Orange & green gel food coloring
    Plain open tip (Wilton #12)
    Leaf tip (Wilton #352)

    Method 2: Candy Melts

    Orange and green candy melts

    Method 3: Marzipan

    Marzipan
    Orange food coloring
    Fresh parsley, trimmed for carrot tops

    Directions

    Buttercream Carrots

    Place 3/4 of the buttercream in a medium mixing bowl. Add orange food coloring and stir until colored.

    Place the remaining buttercream in a small mixing bowl. Add the green food coloring and stir until colored.

    Transfer the orange buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip. Transfer the green food coloring to a piping bag fitted with the leaf tip. Pipe an upside triangle on your cake or cupcake. Add three or four ‘leaves’ using the green buttercream.

    Candy Melt Carrots

    Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Melt the orange candy melts per the package instructions then transfer them to a sealable plastic bag or piping bag. Let the melts cool slightly until less runny. Cut off the tip and pipe the shape of a carrot.

    Repeat with the green candy melts, but pipe the green leaves of each carrot.

    Transfer the baking sheet to the fridge for 5 minutes or until the candy melts have fully hardened. Carefully release each carrot from the baking sheet and place on your cupcakes or cake.

    Marzipan Carrots

    Knead food coloring into marzipan until brightly colored. Roll into a log and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Rolling each piece between your palms, form into a small carrot shape.

    Make lines into the carrots with a toothpick dipped in oil to give a realistic appearance. Use the toothpick to poke a small hole at the top of each carrot. Insert parsley stems the hole. Place on top cupcakes or cake.

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