Admittedly, I’ve never been much of a drinker which definitely changed after I started dating a semiprofessional Irish drinker. In the beginning, you could not pay me to drink me beer—that is until I was handed a Belgium Lambic. What kind self-respecting sugar addict would NOT like this sweet brew? That’s all it took to get me hooked. Lagers, ales, porters, stouts—dark, pale, whatever… I was on board. Not only did I begin to enjoy them but slowly began to CRAVE them. We may or may not have hit up the Guinness brewery at 10 in the morning (immediately following a nonstop day of traveling to Dublin and on no sleep).
So to kick off a trio of beer cupcake recipes (more to come in the next couple of weeks) is an ode to my gateway beer, a raspberry Lambic cupcake. These cupcakes turned out better than I could have hoped for. The cake is light, moist and surprisingly there is a fizziness/carbonated quality to them. The raspberry garnish also serves as a nice little cup for a sip of the beer.
Raspberry Lambic Beer Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees
- Line 2 standard cupcake pans
- In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, whisk until smooth
- In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, set aside
- In a mixer with a paddle attachment cream the butter until smooth
- Once the butter is smooth slowly add butter while continuing to mix
- Continue to cream the butter and sugar mixture until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes), occasionally stopping to scrape the butter down the sides of the bowl
- Begin to add the eggs one tablespoon at a time, again stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat until smooth and the sugar has been fully incorporated (it shouldn’t be sandy in texture)
- By hand mix in about 1/4 of the dry mixture with a rubber spatula and then alternate with 1/3 of the beer mixture until completed
- Fill cups about 3/4ths full and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cake should be light and fluffy!
For the Raspberry Lambic Cream Cheese Frosting
- Combine cream cheese and unsalted butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Whip until soft and creamy.
- Add the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time alternating with the raspberry Lambic beer until the frosting is your desired consistency. The more sugar you add the thicker/sweeter the frosting will be. Alternately, the more beer you add the thinner the frosting will be.
- Once you’ve reached your desired consistency on medium speed mix in all fresh raspberries – the mixer will break up the berries and speckle the frosting.
- Frost cupcakes and garnish with a fresh raspberry, I even put in a bit of the beer into the raspberry cavity!
The Cupcake Swap: Week 5
It’s summer and I wanted to take advantage of the fresh sweet strawberries but also wanted to create a chocolate cupcake. At times I feel like frosting can easily overpower a cupcake and make it almost too sweet—if there’s such a thing. This cupcake has a tasty strawberry ‘cheesecake’ filling that serves as the ‘frosting’ of the cake. These travel great and are a little quicker to make since there isn’t the extra step of frosting.
(you can also use readymade jam, just make sure it’s at room temp when you add it into the cheese mixture).
1 lb of fresh strawberries
2 cups of sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
- Clean, hull and quarter 1lb of strawberries.
- In a bowl mash the strawberries.
- In a large pot combine mashed strawberries, sugar and lemon juice.
- Stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Increase heat to high until the mixture has reached a full rolling boil (it will double in size). Be very CAREFUL when handling this – it’s extremely hot and may splatter.
- Remove from heat and cool.
- Mixture should be the consistency of jam- whip if you desire a thicker consistency.
8 ounces regular or reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
- Beat together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and egg until smooth.
- By hand fold in the strawberry jam. Refrigerate until needed later.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup unflavored vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat to 350°F
- Line a 12 cupcake pan
- In a bowl combine flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk until combined.
- In a large separate bowl, mix together the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla.
- Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, stirring until just smooth. Do not overstir
- Divide the batter among the cups.
- Add about 2 teaspoons of the chilled cheesecake filling into the center of the batter.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until cupcakes feel springy when gently pressed.
The Cupcake Swap: Week 2
For the second week of the Cupcake Swap we were tasked with creating kid friendly cupcakes. I used the classic combination of milk and cookies as inspiration. The chocolate chip cake is taken directly from Martha Stewart and has a texture and flavor that is reminiscent of angel food cake from the stiff egg whites. For the frosting I created a basic cream cheese frosting sweetened by one of my favorite childhood treats, sweetened condensed milk. While standard chocolate chips were used in the cake batter I finished these off mini chocolate chips.
Chocolate Chip cake
3 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
5 large egg whites, room temperature
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake pans.
- Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk together until combined.
- In a separate cup stir together milk and vanilla extract.
- With an electric mixer cream butter until smooth.
- Add in sugar until light and fluffy.
- Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and add flour mixture in three even batches alternating with the milk mixture. Be sure to end with the flour mixture. The mixture will be thick.
- In another bowl with an electric mixer whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- By hand fold the egg whites in three batches. This will thin the batter.
- In a separate bowl toss the chocolate chips with one tablespoon of the cake flour—this will keep the chips from sinking to the bottom during baking.
- Gently fold the coated chocolate chips into the batter.
- Divide the batter among lined cups, filling ¾ of the way.
- Bake about 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Sweetened Condensed Milk Cream Cheese Frosting
8oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick of butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
- Cream the butter with the sweetened condensed milk.
- Add cream cheese and continue to cream.
- Add confectioner’s sugar until desired consistency is reached.
- Add vanilla extract until combined.
The Cupcake Swap: Week 1
It all started with the idea of a potluck for our friends Jen & Brendan who are brand new parents. You don’t have to have kids to know that the first few weeks can be daunting and exhausting! The only problem with a potluck is that it’s WAY too much food for one couple to consume before it all goes bad. So we took the idea of a potluck and stretched it over a couple of months with a slight twist…cupcakes!
Here’s the idea: each friend signs up for a week to bake a savory dish/meal for the new parents. In EXCHANGE for the food they get a dozen cupcakes baked by Cupcake Daydreams! Parents get a much needed home cooked meal, the cook gets tasty cupcakes and we get to test out new recipes! It’s a win, cubed!
For the first week I decided on a chocolate cupcake because I’m always looking for ways to change up chocolate recipes. A vanilla based cake is definitely easier to modify since a chocolate base can be overpowering to some of the more subtle flavors.
Growing up my favorite candy bar was the heath toffee bar—what’s not to like hard caramel covered in a luscious chocolate coating! Seems like a natural pairing with the chocolate cake. I opted to mix toffee bits into the batter so that the chocolate bits would melt in the cupcake. I kept the frosting simple since the cake was so rich but topped it off with a fresh caramel drizzle. Why are you still reading? Go bake this cupcake!!
Chocolate Toffee Cupcake
2 2/3 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups milk, room temperature
1 package crumbled toffee bits
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line two cupcake pans with liners.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Set aside.
- In a mixer bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs one at a time.
- Add vanilla.
- Alternate between milk and the flour mixture—beginning and ending with flour.
- By hand, fold in the package of toffee bits.
- Fill cups ¾ full.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick in the center comes out clean.
2 sticks of butter, room temperature
3-4 cups of confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
- In a mixer with a paddle attachment cream butter.
- Add confectioners’ sugar ½ cup at a time until you reach desired consistency. Mix in vanilla at any time.
½ cup sugar
½ cup heavy cream
- Prepare an ice bath (you’ll need two nesting bowls – place ice in the larger bowl and place smaller bowl inside the large bowl surround it with ice).
- Heat the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Sugar will start to melt, shake the pan to move the unmelted sugar around the pan.
- Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar becomes a smooth golden amber color (about 2 or 3 minutes). Stir constantly so that the sugar doesn’t burn.
- Remove from heat.
- Continue stirring and slowly add the cream in a slow stream (it may splatter and this is normal).
- If it’s not the desired consistency (smooth) return to heat while stirring.
- Place caramel in the smaller bowl in the ice bath—stir frequently until cooled.
While you are waiting for the caramel to cool, frost the cupcakes. Once the cupcakes are frosted whisk the caramel with a metal whisk. Use the caramel on the whisk to slowly drizzle over the frosted cupcakes. I have found it best to place the cupcakes on a cooling rack when you drizzle the caramel over it. It can get a bit messy and this prevents the bottom of the cupcakes from getting sticky with caramel.
I attempted to make Heath chunk espresso fudge brownies on Monday…but they failed miserably. I undercooked them and the middle was way to gooey to serve. Booo.
Why not just pop them back in the oven, you ask…well, by the time I discovered the above mentioned ooey gooeyness, I had let them cool, turned off the oven and was more than halfway done cutting them in to squares. Bummed. I know.
So these brownies have been taunting me all week (and yes, I ate one of the “undercooked” ones last night – it didn’t suck) and I need get rid of them asap! I have a baking date with Cathy tomorrow (for Lolo’s birthday cupcakes – sshhh) but needed to get rid of these brownies because I will eat them and well, I don’t want to eat them all.
Brownie 1: Chopped up the goey brownies and popped them in some mini chocolate cupcakes.
I discovered these brownie bits were much less ooey when cut in half and then chopped even smaller. Score – we have a garnish!
Brownie 2: Chocolate brownie stuffed minis with cream cheese frosting, topped with a cute little brownie garnish and health bar bits.
I decided to make some cupcakes with brownies, some without, some with health and some without because my coworkers have come to expect a certain level of variety from my baked goods…
Starting things out for a good cause
On April 2, 2011 there was a simultaneous national bakesale to benefit survivors of the devastating tsunami in Japan. After learning about this bakesale on Daily Candy, how could we NOT participate? All proceeds went to Peace Winds and you can still donate by clicking here. Huge props to Tara for coordinating the Boston/JP event and for Ula Cafe in JP for hosting.
We created 50 Japanese inspired cupcakes to donate:
“Japan Flag” Pineapple Cupcakes with Mango Puree filling and Cream Cheese Frosting
Japanese Matcha Green Tea Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting