Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Challenge #8: Pining For The Forbidden Pinapple Cupcakes

Do you ever get a craving for something and you just need to have it? This was how I felt yesterday when I was planning a small dinner party. I suddenly got a hankering for pineapple. I didn't know if our guests even liked pineapple, so I texted my friend Em and asked her. When I got an enthusiastic YES back, I knew I was good to go. Homemade pizza was on the menu (will blog about in the future, I promise!) One Vegetarian, with mushrooms, red peppers, tomato, onion and lots of pineapple; and the other with pepperoni, hot peppers and pineapple! Yum! Plus, I knew the perfect thing to round off the evening with. I went to my book, The Icing On The Cupcake, and picked out Pining For The Forbidden Pineapple Cupcakes for this challenge.

6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temerature
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp pineapple extract
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp finely ground salt
1 20-oz can crushed pineapple

Preheat the oven to 350'. Place 12 paper liners into cupcake trays.
Cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
 Add the eggs and beat another 2 minutes.
Add vanilla and pineapple extract. 
Now I couldn't actually find pineapple extract, which was a shame, because I think it really would've taken this recipe just one step further. I tried using pineapple juice instead, but it really didn't have the same effect.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add to batter.
Whip cream in cold bowl to soft peaks, fold into batter.

Drain pineapple. Make sure to remove as much liquid as possible. I put mine into my sifter. It worked perfectly.
Gently fold into batter. Pour into paper liners. Fill 3/4 of the way to the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and then place on baking rack.


1 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Cream the powdered sugar and butter together with an electric mixer until smooth, about 3-5 minutes.
Add milk, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Beat until smooth. If frosting is thin, let sit for a few minutes. It will thicken. If too thick, add more milk.

As you can see, it's more of a glaze then a traditional frosting. Next time I make this, I might make a simple butter cream instead, but that's just me.
Dunk the top half of the cupcake into the frosting to coat, then place on a rack.

I chose to garnish mine with candied pineapple that I found at the bulk food store.

All and all, they were pretty good, if a little plain. I will definitely make sure I have pineapple extract before trying these again. Everyone loved them though, so I guess that makes them a hit.

Challenge #7: Seeing Red And Tasting Chocolate or Shot Through The Heart

Shot through the heart and you're to blame
You give love a bad name
(Bad name)
I play my part and you play your game
You give love a bad name
(Bad name)
Hey, you give love a bad name
 I had this song by Bon Jovi stuck in my head the whole time I made these cupcakes for this challenge. Ron had a work day trip, and I thought it would be nice to send along some cupcakes to make up having to work on a Saturday. I had been wanting to make these cupcakes, from The Icing On The Cupcake for awhile, so I figured this was the perfect time to try them out.
Seeing Red and Tasting Chocolate or Shot Through The Heart

1 oz pomegranate juice
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (can subsitute with 1 1/2 cups canola oil)
1 tbsp red food colouring
1 tsp white distilled vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp powdered espresso
1 tsp finely ground salt
2 tbsp potato starch (corn starch)
1 tsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp grated dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350'. Place 24 paper liners into cupcake trays.
Cream butter with an electric mixer for 5 minutes or until it changes to a pale shade of yellow.
Add the sugar and beat another 2 minutes.

Add eggs. Beat for another 3 minutes.
In a separate bowl mix together pomegranate juice, buttermilk, vinegar, food colouring and vanilla.

Now I have a food colouring concentrated gel and not a liquid, so I found that I should've just used half the allotted amount and it probably would've been fine.
In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, powdered espresso and cocoa powder.
Alternate adding dry and then wet mixture to batter.

 Gently fold in grated chocolate

Now, in my last post, I chopped up the chocolate. This time I decided to actually grate it to see how well that would work instead. It actually worked really well and I will use this method again in the future.

Pour batter into paper liners. Fill 2/3 of the way to the top.

Bake 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Cool for 5 minutes before placing the cupcakes on a baking rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup (or 2 sticks) of butter, room tempurature
1 pound of cream cheese, room tempurature
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups sifted powdered sugar

Cream butter, cream cheese and vanilla together with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy, bout 3-5 minutes.
Add sugar and beat until smooth
frost cooled cupcakes.

As you can see they turned out super red!

They were really tasty, but super dense. Eating one was sort of like eating a whole meal. I think if I make these again, I will make normal butter cream icing or at least cut back on the cream cheese. 

Challenge #6: The Devil Made Me Do It And I Liked It

October was a great month for cupcakes. It seemed liked every time I turned around, I had another reason to make a new batch, and folks, that's exactly what I did. 
My Birthday had just passed and my Mother had been kind enough to bake me a cake :)
Unfortunately, it was a carrot cake, which I don't like. I felt bad, since my Mom had put so much effort into it, but I'm glad everyone else got to enjoy it.
I decided to make myself some cupcakes when I got back home. Ron's Mom's Boyfriend's birthday was quickly coming up, so it worked out that I could make him cupcakes and still have them for my own Birthday.

I broke out The Icing On The Cupcake and looked for a recipe that would measure up to this particular challenge. The Devil Made Me Do It And I Liked It, sounded just perfect.

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp (or 1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room tempurature
3 eggs, room tempurature
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup strong coffee
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/2 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp finely ground salt

Preheat the oven to 325'. Place 12 paper liners into cupcake trays.
Cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
Add the eggs and beat another 2 minutes.

Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together.

Mix the buttermilk and vanilla together. Beat in a 1/3 of the flour mixture. Beat in the buttermilk mixture. Add a 1/3 of the flour mixture.

Add the coffee. Add the rest of the flour mixture and mix until combined.

Pour the batter into the paper liners. Fill the tins halfway. (If I made this recipe again, I would fill them a little bit more, but that's just me)
Bake 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool for 5 minutes and then place on baking racks.

Peanut Butter Buttercream Filling

1/2 cup (or 1 stick) unsalted butter, room tempurature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar

Cream the butter and peanut butter together until smooth.
Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
Fit a pastry bag with a medium plain tip
Fill the pastry bag with the filling

Insert the tip into each cupcake and squeeze about 3 tbsp of filling into each cupcake. (I had never done this before and wasn't sure how much I was squeezing into each, so I didn't squeeze too hard. It turned out that I didn't put very much into any of them. I will squeeze harder next time for optimum filling.)


4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

Place chocolate in medium bowl

Bring the cream to a scald in a small saucepan. (I had to look up how to scald milk here)

Pour cream over chocolate and let sit about 1 minute, them whisk until smooth.
Let sit for 10 minutes, until thick but still pourable

Dunk the top half of the cupcake into the frosting to coat, then place on a rack.
Sprinkle with chopped peanuts. 

I'm sure you can buy chopped peanuts somewhere, but if not, I find the easiest way of chopping them is to actually crush them with the flat of a knife blade. It works wonders.

These may have been the best cupcakes I've ever made!. I will totally make these again, and probably soon! They take a bit of extra work, but it's totally worth it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cake Wrecks! A Wrecktacular Time!

Who here has heard of Cake Wrecks? Of course you have. Who hasn't heard of this awesome website, which has spurred books and calendars alike.

Now have you heard of Epbot?

Jen Yates, the writer of Cake Wrecks, also writes Epbot, and Epbot happens to be one of my all time favorite Blogs.
Well, it turns out that The Cake Wrecks - The "Winter Underlined" Tour came to Toronto last night.
I didn't know how busy it was going to be there and I really didn't want to have to stand, so I headed over early. I got there an hour before it started and there was hardly anyone there. I sat in the second row with no one in front of me. 
That's when I noticed Jen, or should I say, that's when Jen noticed me. I smiled and she came right over and sat down next to me, saying that I seemed friendly.

Her and I chatted for over an hour while we waited for the show to start. It was so nice to sit and chat with another geek girl. I meet so few of them. She told me that I should move down to Orlando so her and I can hang out and go to Disney World! Man, would I love that!

The show, like Jen and John themselves, was very funny! They both have very quick wit and you can see why they're so well suited to one another.

Isn't she cute in her Give Me The Candy shirt? She had asked fans on Twitter to bring her some leftover Canadian candy, so a few people did. I popped out after the show and grabbed them some Kinder Surprise. Did you know that they don't sell them in the States anymore? Apparently, kids kept choking on the toys inside. 

As always, there was a competition to see who could recreate their favorite wreck. They all looked so wrecktastic!

They also served cake! One was of a baby and the other of a carrot. I was lucky enough to get the baby's mouth? Don't worry, I took a bite out of him before he could take a bite out of me!

A fan even brought John a tiger scarf/hood! Here he is, doing his best to be presidential!

And of course, my signed book! If you can't make out what it says:
To "Brae"
Under Neat That
Move to Olrando! Now!!!
Then she drew me a "hidden Mickey"

How awesome is that? I had such a wonderful time and I can't believe I actually got to hang out with Jen, Herself!!! YAY!!!

(Yes, This is also on my Talk Blog as well, but I couldn't resist also posting it here! I mean, cake, right?)