Pull-Apart Cupcake Christmas Wreath

If you want to make something extra special for your Holiday dessert but still want it to be simple this final Holiday Cake Week treat may be the one for you… It’s a Pull Apart Cupcake Christmas Wreath.

You will need 19 cupcakes to replicate the size wreath I created. I opted to use a chocolate box cake mix, but, feel free to use your favorite cupcake recipe. I went with a box cake mix to make this as easy and as quick as possible. Once the cupcakes cooled I arranged them on a 14-inch round cake board.

Next, I made my go to Fluffy Vanilla Frosting I always use for decorating. After tinting it green I used a Wilton 1M tip to pipe swirls on each of the cupcakes. Quick tip… Prior to frosting make sure the cupcakes are close together, practically touching, this way when you frost them you won’t have too many gaps between them.

Now it was time to decorate. I started off by creating a fondant bow. To do so, I rolled red fondant to 1/16-inch thickness. I cut four 6 x 1 1/2-inch rectangles. In two of the rectangles I cut out a triangle on one of the shorter sides. I also cut a 3 x 1 1/2 rectangle that I used for the bow center. To create the bow, I folded the two longer rectangles without the cut-out in half and stuffed the loops with tissue paper so they could keep their shape, I used a little water to adhere the ends of the rectangles together. Next, I wrapped the shorter rectangle around the two joined ends of the folded rectangle and used a little water to join the ends of the short rectangle. Finally, I placed the rectangles with the cut outs in the center of the bottom of the cupcakes and carefully placed the bow piece on top. You can use a little water to adhere the piece together if you are concerned about it falling off. To finish off the decorating I used snowflake candies, Sixlets and other candies to give the wreath a more festive look.

And that’s it! Feel free to switch up the colors. You could stick with white frosting and decorate with red and green for a festive look or with shades of blue and silver for a winter wonderland look. The possibilities are endless.

Spice Cupcakes with a Pumpkin Mousse Filling & Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy Fall! My favorite time of the year is upon us. Although, while in my kitchen the other day looking in my backyard I noticed that my least favorite part of the season had already begun… the falling leaves. I am not a fan of raking leaves. And since I have quite a few trees in my backyard that are a welcome blessing in the hot summer they become the complete opposite when the cooler temps of the fall roll in. Oh well! In honor of the first full day of fall I am sharing with you cupcakes that tie together the flavors of fall deliciously, a spice cupcake with a pumpkin mousse filling and topped with a cream cheese frosting. I actually made these cupcakes while visiting a close friend in Virginia who happens to enjoy pumpkin spice items as much as I do. We actually text each other different food items we come across in pumpkin spice flavor, come to think of it, we text each other for a lot of out of the ordinary flavors we come across… Especially with Oreos.

I began by baking the cupcakes…

As they were cooling I prepped the pumpkin mousse. Now, I cheated a bit to make the mousse. For most of my cakes I use Jell-O Instant Pudding Mix combined with a cup each of whole milk and heavy cream and beat it until it’s smooth and thick. I’ve done it with vanilla and chocolate flavored Jell-O and I finally tried it with their Pumpkin Spice flavor. You should be seeing it on store shelves soon as fall is right around the corner. I purchased a few boxes last year that haven’t expired yet. Now, the nice thing, you can actually eat this mousse as dessert all by itself, so if you choose to make the entire box of pudding you will have some extra to enjoy. If you don’t want extra, use half the pack and only 1/2 cup each of whole milk and heavy cream. You can also omit filling the cupcakes and just top them with the cream cheese frosting… They will be just as delicious.

Once the cupcakes had cooled I cored the center of the cakes and filled them with the pumpkin mousse and then topped them with a small piece of the removed cupcake.

Next, I whipped up some cream cheese frosting and piped it on top of the cupcakes. Finally, I crumbled some of the cupcake crumbs left over from coring and sprinkled them on top of the cupcakes.

Finally verdict… DELISH! Just might be the perfect cupcake for the fall!

Spice Cupcakes with a Pumpkin Mousse Filling & Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 stick unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pumpkin Mousse:

1 3.4oz. package of Pumpkin Spice Jell-O Pudding Mix

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F and line a 12-cup muffin with liners.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and allspice and set aside. In a separate bowl whisk together the melted butter, both sugars, sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture until just combined.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups, about 1/4 cup in each. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a cake tested inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and the transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are baking and cooling make the mousse & frosting.

To make the mousse, combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until thick and smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the frosting, beat the butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract and salt on medium speed until cream. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar on medium-low speed until smooth and then beat on medium-high speed until thick and fluffy. Set aside until ready to use. If not using immediately refrigerate until ready to use. You may need to bring to room temperature before using it.

Core the cupcakes and spoon the mousse to just about level and then top with the removed piece and then frost with frosting.

Recipe from Food Network

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

While scrolling through my Instagram feed I saw a picture of Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes and immediately thought… “I want to try that!” This happens a lot when I am looking at pictures on Instagram. It could be a recipe, a cake idea or a craft project. I recently purchased the supplies for a paint pouring project I saw on AC Moore’s page. I am sure it’s going to be a messy one so I am waiting for a decent weather day to make that outside. I initially thought that the cupcakes were baked in a mini muffin tin and then placed inside of the cupcake cones (silly me!) but after a Google search I learned that no, the cupcakes are actually baked in the cones (even better!) And what was even better than that, I decided that since these were a “fun cupcakes” I would use Funfetti cake mix and lo and behold on the side of the Pillsbury box on Funfetti cake mix were the instructions to make these.

I began by placing flat-bottom ice cream cones in a muffin pan…

Next, after preparing the batter, I poured about 3 tablespoons of batter into each cone. You don’t want to overfill the cones, if you do, you’ll end up with a cupcake spilling out of the cone once baked.

I then baked them in a preheated 350F oven for approximately 25 minutes.

I allowed them to cool completely on a wire rack…

And then piped frosting on each cupcake using a large star tip (I used Wilton size 1M) to resemble a soft serve ice cream cone. And no ice cream cone is complete without sprinkles.

There you have it… Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes. While they are fun and delicious (and probably the perfect treat for a kids party) they do have a downfall, they are top-heavy. Which means transporting them can be a challenge. I dropped a few of them while trying to balance them on a cake stand while walking. Lesson learned!

Black Forest Cupcakes

So, I had never baked with cherries before until this Cherry Pie and here I am making another sweet treat with cherries… Black Forest Cupcakes. With chocolate, cherries & whipped cream how could they not be delicious!

I began by making the cherry filling. Unfortunately this isn’t the most appetizing looking picture of the cherry filling, but, it definitely tasted whole a lot better than it looked.

While the cherry filling cooled in the refrigerator I made the cupcakes.

And once the cupcakes and the filling had cooled I cored the cupcakes and filled them with the cherry filling.

And finally, I topped them with whipped cream frosting, some chocolate shavings and a cherry.

Surprisingly these cupcakes were incredibly light and not overly sweet.

 

Black Forest Cupcakes

  • Servings: 15 cupcakes
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Ingredients:

Chocolate Cupcakes:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons milk*

*I used 2% milk

 

Cherry Filling:

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons corn starch

2 tablespoons water

1 2/3 cups pitted and quartered cherries

 

Whipped Cream:

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

chocolate, for grating

cherries, for topping

 

Directions:

Cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a cupcake pan with liners.

Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just blended.

In a separate bowl combine the vanilla extract, water and cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Add this to the sugar mixture and beat until combined.

In another bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture alternating with the milk. Add half of the flour mixture, then all of the milk and then the remaining flour mixture, mix until the batter is smooth.

Fill the cupcakes liners about 3/4 way (about 1/4 cup) and bake for 15-17 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let the cupcakes cool a few minutes in the pan and then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Cherry Filling:

Combine the sugar, cornstarch and water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir to combine. Heat until the sugar begins to melt

Add the cherries and stir to coat them with the sugar mixture. Cook the mixture until the cherries begin to soften and they let out their juices.

Remove from the heat once the juice has begun to thicken. Pour the mixture into another bowl and refrigerate until cool.

 

Once the cupcakes and the cherry filling has cooled remove the centers of the cupcakes using a cupcake corer or a knife and fill the centers with the cherry filling.

 

Whipped Cream:

Add the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract to a large bowl and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form.

Pipe swirls of the whipped cream on top of the cupcakes. Then top them with grated chocolate and a cherry. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe from The Cake Blog

Cupcake Bouquet Tutorial

I came across Cupcake Bouquets while doing some research on Pinterest for something else. Once I saw it though I knew I wanted to try making one myself.

To begin, I gathered my supplies: a 6-inch pot, a 6-inch Styrofoam ball, 9oz. paper cups, toothpicks, and glass weights or rocks. You will also need a hot glue gun. A couple of things to point out… Make sure that the size of your pot and ball are the same size, or close to it, so that ball can fit snug inside of the pot.

Since I had a piece of circular Styrofoam I decided to cut it down to fit inside the bottom of the pot…

So, just in case any of my glass weights escaped from the newspaper I wrapped them in they wouldn’t fall through the hole in the bottom of the pot. The reason for the weights in the pot is to prevent it from tipping over if all the cupcakes are removed from one side.

Next, I lined the inside of the top of the pot with hot glue and placed the Styrofoam ball inside and let it dry for a few minutes before hot gluing paper cups – that I cut to an inch tall – to the ball. Make sure you place the cups just above the rim of your pot, you don’t want too much space. You could attempt to just stick the cupcakes on to the ball using toothpicks, but, using the cups will give the cupcakes more support and less chance of them falling off.

 

I continued gluing the cups around the ball, placing them fairly close together. I ended up with 9 cups in my first round.

For the second round, I placed the cups in between two cups from the first round, ending up with a total of 6 cups. And then, one final cup on top of the ball. Don’t worry about the spaces as they will be filled later with cupcake liners.

 

And finally I placed toothpicks inside of each of the cups. Three toothpicks forming a triangle in the first round, and two toothpicks in the cups on the second round and the one on top. Leave about half of the toothpick out. Be careful as you might stick yourself with a toothpick here and there and it can be quite painful.

A quick recap… A 6-inch Styrofoam ball in a 6-inch pot will yield a 16-Flower Cupcake Bouquet.

Next, bake your favorite cupcakes – I decided on Chocolate & Yellow cupcakes. Once they cooled I stuck one into each of the cups on the ball.

  

Now it’s time to fill the spaces between the cupcakes. Using green cupcake liners, I gathered them and began placing them in the empty spaces, using toothpicks to anchor them to the ball.

 

Next, the fun part – decorating the cupcakes. Since you will be piping flowers, make sure your frosting is firm enough to be piped. Your best bet is to make your own. My favorite frosting to use for piping and decorating is this Fluffy Vanilla Frosting. It’s the perfect consistency and tastes delicious. I used a Wilton 1M tip to creates the roses and a 2D tip to create the hydrangeas. Before you start piping the flowers on to the cupcakes just give them a little nudge to make sure they are all the way into the cups secured by the toothpicks.

 

And finally… You have your Cupcake Bouquet. This is a nice gift for a birthday, a cute idea for a baby shower, or a nice alternative to flowers, etc.

Horchata Treats for Cinco De Mayo!

Happy Cinco de Mayo! This year I decided to make Horchata in honor of the day and then use some of that fresh Horchata to make Horchata Cupcakes topped with Cream Cheese Frosting and sprinkled with cinnamon.

After a few Google searches I decided to make my Horchata as close to “authentic” as possible. I found a recipe that used evaporated milk, one that used rice milk and another that suggested purchasing powdered Horchata mix and mixing it with milk. For authenticity I opted to go the traditional route of blending water with rice until the rice was broken down and then letting the mixture sit in the refrigerator overnight. The next day I strained the water to get all of the rice bits out and blended it with whole milk, vanilla extract, almond extract (okay, this was a bit of a shortcut since some Horchata recipes call for ground almonds), cinnamon and sugar. Yum!

And then the next day I used the fresh Horchata to make cupcakes that were super moist and had a hint of the Horchata in them. Delish!

Feliz Cinco De Mayo…  May your guacamole be spicy, your margaritas strong and your food delicioso!

 

Horchata

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked long grain white rice

1 quart warm water

1/2 cup whole milk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup sugar

Cinnamon sticks for serving, optional

Directions:

In a blender combine the rice and water. Blend for about 1 to 2 minutes, until the rice has broken down but does not form a powder. Refrigerate the rice water mixture for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Strain the rice mixture into a container through a fine mesh sieve or several layers of cheesecloth to remove the rice solids.

Transfer the rice water to a blender and add in the milk, vanilla and almond extracts, cinnamon and sugar. Blend for a minute until all of the ingredients are well combines and smooth.

Refrigerate if not serving immediately. When serving, pour over ice with cinnamon sticks as stirrers.

Recipe from The Food Network

 

Horchata Cupcakes

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cups sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup Horchata

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 large egg whites

Directions:

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

Cream the butter on high speed and then add in the sugar, continue beating until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, set aside.

Mix the Horchata, vanilla and cinnamon together, set aside.

Add the flour mixture and the Horchata mixture to the butter mixture in 3 parts, alternating between the flour and Horchata mixture. Beginning and ending with the flour. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites in to the cupcake batter until incorporated.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe adapted from The Foodies Kitchen

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

1 8oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sifted Confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Beat the cream cheese and butter together until creamy.

Add in the vanilla extract and continue beating, then gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar.

If not using immediately, store in the refrigerator.

Eggnog Cupcakes with a Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

So, what have you been baking this Holiday season? Cookies? Cupcakes? Cakes? All three? I haven’t baked a cake yet, but, I have baked my fair share of cookies. Did you catch any of my Cookie Palooza recipes last week? There were some good ones in there. Today though I am bringing you a cupcake that encompasses a few flavors of the season… Eggnog and Cinnamon in an Eggnog Cupcake with a Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting. I highly suggest you use an eggnog that you like as opposed to any old one you happen to come across at the supermarket and don’t worry if you don’t like eggnog these cupcakes are not overpowering with the flavor.

To make the cupcakes I began by stirring together all the dry ingredients in one bowl – flour, sugar, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another, using my hand mixer I beat room temperature butter until it was creamy. I then added in all of the flour mixture and continues beat the mixture until it resembled crumble topping.

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Next I added in two eggs and continued beating…

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And finally I added in the eggnog and mixed it on low speed until the batter was silky and smooth (kind of a funny way to explain cupcake batter).

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Next I divided the batter evenly among my 12-cavity cupcake pan (about 1/4 cup in each cavity) and of course I used holiday inspired cupcake liners…

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I baked them in a 350 F pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes and then transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, I topped them off with homemade Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting. This frosting is so good I could just eat it out of the bowl. I had to refrain from too many taste tests since I needed enough to frost the cupcakes!

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Eggnog Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

2 eggs

1/2 cup eggnog

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl stir together all of the ingredients except the butter, eggs and eggnog and set aside.

In a large bowl beat the butter with a hand mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add all of the flour mixture and continue beating until it mixture resembles a crumble topping. Add the eggs and beat for an additional minute; the batter should be light in color and a bit fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Finally, beat in the eggnog gently until just combined and the batter is silky and smooth. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake pan (about 1/4 cup each cavity).

Bake for 25 to 28 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched in the center and a cake taster comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before frosting.

Recipe from Betty Crocker

 

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

Enough for 24 Cupcakes*

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

4 cups (1 lb. box) confectioners’ sugar

3 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

*I opted to divide the recipe in half and had enough frosting to frost 10 cupcakes using a 1M Wilton Tip Swirl

Directions:

Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer, beat the butter and vanilla extract on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Stir the cinnamon into the confectioners’ sugar, gradually add this to the butter mixture. Beating well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add milk (or heavy cream) and continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy. If you find that the frosting is a bit thick and heavy to spread add more milk/heavy cream to thin it down.

Recipe from McCormick