• 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.

  • Perfect Carrot Cupcakes

    How to make Perfect Carrot Cupcakes

    Yield: 12 cupcakes

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 20 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the cupcakes:

    1 1/4 cups (174 grams) all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/4 cup (47 grams) canola oil
    1 cup (198 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
    2 large eggs
    1/2 cup (125 grams) unsweetened applesauce
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    1 1/2 cups (148 grams) finely shredded carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
    1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (42 grams) finely chopped walnuts, divided

    For the frosting:

    8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
    1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    2 cups (250 grams) powdered sugar

    Directions

    Make the cupcakes:

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

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, and eggs. Stir in the applesauce, vanilla, and carrots. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in 1/4 cup of the walnuts.

    Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake until a cake tester inserted comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely.

    Make the frosting:

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla on medium-high speed until very light, creamy, and smooth. On low speed gradually add in the sugar and beat until fluffy.

    Frost cupcakes and decorate with remaining chopped walnuts, if desired. Serve or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

  • Peanut Butter Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes

    How to make Peanut Butter Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes

    Yield: 16 cupcakes

    Prep Time: 25 minutes

    Cook: 25 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the cupcakes:

    1/2 cup (85 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
    1/2 cup (123 grams) peanut butter
    1 1/2 cups (187 grams) all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
    1/3 cup (66 grams) vegetable oil
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 cup water

    For the cheesecake filling:

    4 ounces (113 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
    1/2 cup (123 grams) peanut butter, plus more for topping
    1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
    1 large egg
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup (85 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
    1/2 cup (85 grams) peanut butter chips

    Directions

    Make the cupcakes:

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two standard muffin tins with 16 paper liners.

    Place the chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 45 seconds. Stir until smooth. If not completely melted, return to the microwave for 10 second bursts until smooth. Stir in the peanut butter. Let cool.

    In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl vigorously whisk the sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla until well combined. Beat in the melted chocolate chips and peanut butter. Gradually add the flour mixture alternatively with the water. The batter will be thin. Set aside.

    Make the filling:

    In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, egg, and salt until creamy. Stir in the chocolate chips and peanut butter chips.

    Fill each muffin cup half full with the batter. Spoon a tablespoon of the cream cheese filling over the batter. Spoon the remaining batter over the cream cheese filling. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

    Let cool completely. Melt additional peanut butter for spreading over the tops of each cupcake, if desired. Serve or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

  • Ding Dong Cupcakes

    How to make Ding Dong Cupcakes

    Yield: 12 cupcakes

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook: 1 hour

    Ingredients

    Chocolate cupcakes

    3/4 cup (105 grams) plain flour
    1/2 cup (40 grams) cocoa powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated or caster sugar
    1/4 cup (45 grams) brown sugar
    1/2 cup (115 grams or 1 stick) unsalted butter
    2 large eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk

    Marshmallow filling

    2 egg whites, room temperature
    1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated or caster sugar
    1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Chocolate ganache

    2/3 cup (100 grams) dark chocolate
    1/2 cup (120 ml) thickened or heavy cream

    Vanilla buttercream

    1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter, softened
    3/4 cup (90 grams) icing or powdered sugar
    2 teaspoons milk
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Directions

    Chocolate cupcakes

    Preheat the oven to 360 F (180 C). Line a 12 hole muffin tin with patty cases. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and then add the sugars – give it a stir. Place the butter in a microwave safe mixing bowl and pop into the microwave for 10 seconds or so at a time, until it is just melted. Give it a stir with a fork to eliminate any lumps. Then add the eggs and vanilla to the butter, along with the buttermilk and whisk together until smooth. Then add the wet butter mixture into the dry mixture and fold until just combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared patty cases and pop into the oven. Bake for 18-20 minutes before setting the cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely.

    Marshmallow filling

    To make the marshmallow filling, add a few inches of water to a medium saucepan and place on a medium heat. In a small heatproof bowl, add your eggs whites, caster sugar and cream of tartar. Whisk together. Then pop the bowl over the saucepan, ensuring the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. As the egg whites heat, whisk gently by hand the entire time. You’ll want to heat the egg white mixture to 120 F (50 C) which you can test by sticking a candy thermometer into the mixture or go by feel (the mixture should be hot to the touch) – should be around 5-6 minutes or so. The mixture should become smooth and the sugar should be dissolved. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and place in the base of a stand mixer (or simply use a hand beater) and beat on medium speed for approximately 7 minutes until the mixture is fluffy, white and voluminous. Add the vanilla and beat for 30 seconds or so.

    Use a knife to cut out a hole in the middle of each cupcake – but keep these cake cores. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large round tip with the marshmallow fluff frosting and pipe into the middle of each cupcakes – be careful not to overfill them. Then cut the tops off your cake cores and press on top of the marshmallow filling so the cupcake has a closed top once again. Continue with all 12 cupcakes.

    Chocolate ganache

    Then it’s time to make the chocolate ganache. Roughly chop your chocolate and place into a small bowl. Then gently heat your cream over a low heat on the stove until it becomes warm to the touch but do not boil. Pour the warm cream over the chocolate and leave for approximately 1-2 minutes. Then gently whisk the mixture until combined and smooth. Pop the chocolate ganache into the fridge to cool and thicken slightly for about 20 minutes or so. It’s really up to you how thick or thin your would like the ganache. You can refrigerate it for longer if you want it thicker. Give it a stir and then drizzle over the top of each cupcake. I like to remove the cupcake liners here so the chocolate ganache can drip down the sides.

    Vanilla buttercream

    Finally, it’s time to make the buttercream for the swirls. In a small bowl, add your butter (ensuring it is nice and soft) and give it a good stir with a spoon. Then add half of your powdered or icing sugar, milk and vanilla and stir together. Once it is smooth, add the rest of the powdered or icing sugar. Then transfer this mixture to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip and pipe the swirls on top. Just make sure the ganache has set slightly so the two frostings don’t run together. Enjoy!

  • Carrot Sheet Cake

    How to make Carrot Sheet Cake

    Yield: 24-30 servings

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook: 25 minutes

    Ingredients

    For the Cake:

    2 cups granulated sugar
    1 cup oil
    4 eggs
    2 cups flour
    2 teaspoons cinnamon
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon all spice
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    2 cups carrots, finely grated

    For the Frosting:

    1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
    2 teaspoons vanilla

    Directions

    For the Cake:

    Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 13×18 inch jelly roll pan.

    In a large mixing bowl, mix the sugar and oil together. Beat in the eggs. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in the carrots and then spread into the greased pan. Bake for 24 to 26 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

    For the Frosting:

    Beat the cream cheese and butter together. Mix in the powdered sugar and cream until smooth. Mix in the vanilla and then spread over cooled cake.

  • How to Make Perfect Cupcakes
  • 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.)