Archive for the 'Cupcakes' Category

Luau 1st Birthday Party!

Grace Cake 1I turned to Kevin and asked, “so how many do you think fell over?”  He replied, “maybe two?”.  Ha!  He is so optimistic!  I looked at him and said, “really, I think maybe 4 or more”.  We arrived, opened the cooler and ALL of them had fallen over onto each other.  We both turned to each other and just laughed.

Ella Cake 1This past weekend Ella & Grace turned 1 year old.  For those of you that don’t know who Ella and Grace are, they are two little girls, one of which I watch on a weekly basis and the other one I casually sit for here and there.  Their mom’s asked if I would be willing to cater their joint 1 year birthday bash.  How could I say no? The theme for the party: Luau!

Cupcake tower

It was one crazy, fun filled weekend!  I started last week by baking the cupcakes and smash cakes on Tuesday, made the fillings and butter cream on Wednesday, grocery shopped and prepped the food on Thursday, then cooked all day Friday! The party, complete with food and cake covered babies, was a hit!

Ella Cake 2On Friday night, Kevin and I delivered all of the food to Grace’s house to keep in the fridge until Saturday since mine was to be packed with cupcakes and two smash cakes.  We then went downtown Charleston and enjoyed walking around in the nice warm evening weather.  We stopped by a new frozen yogurt shop and each enjoyed a small treat.  It was a nice date. 🙂

Devils Food CupcakesSaturday morning we woke up early, enjoyed a nice breakfast of waffles on our front porch and immediately set our mode’s into high gear for the party.    By the time I finished icing all of the cupcakes and decorating the smash cakes I felt like I had absorbed so much butter and sugar just through my skin and I had not had one single bite!  We showered, dressed in our “Luau” appropriate clothes and loaded up the car.

Beach CupcakesKevin had made a special “carrier” for my ice cream cone cupcakes since they don’t fit securely in a cupcake carrier or in muffin tins.  Little did I know that in order for his contraption to work, I had to keep it pulled tight….it was constructed of aluminum foil, cardboard, and duct tape.  (Gotta love it!)  So I put the ice cream cone cupcakes in the cooler thinking that they would be fine in this contraption and make the trip.  There was only a dozen of them… why wouldn’t they make the 15 minute drive?  Hmmm….what do you think?


For those of you that don’t know, we drive a Jeep.  Yeah, a freakin’ Jeep!  Definition of “Jeep”:  a vehicle that finds every damn bump in the road, shakes on a smooth road, and is pointless to even turn on the A/C’.  Oh, and to make matters worse, we are undergoing MAJOR construction in Charleston right now so our roads are crappy.

Margarita Cupcakes

About a mile away from Grace & Ella’s party, I turned to Kevin and asked, “so how many do you think fell over?”  He replied, “maybe two?”.  Ha!  He is so optimistic!  I looked at him and said, “really, I think maybe 4 or more”.  We arrived, opened the cooler and ALL of them had fallen over onto each other.  We both turned to each other and just laughed. Note to self, bring the butter cream in a pastry bag and ice any future ice cream cone cupcakes at the destination!

Ice Cream Cakes(I tried to fix them the best I could with no extra icing to work with. 🙂 )

Grace Cake 2All of the other cupcakes, food, and the two smash cakes made it perfectly.  In the end all that mattered were that the smash cakes arrived untouched, which they did since I held them the whole way.  The party turned out better than I had planned and everyone had a great time!  The girls definitely enjoyed their cakes.  I wish I could say that I don’t want to see  butter cream for a very long time, but considering I deal with it on a weekly basis, I doubt that is going to be possible.

Dessert Table

The food menu:

Pulled Pork Barbecue served with homemade sauce, corn muffins, and buns

Slow-cooked Baked Beans

Horseradish Potato Salad


Broccoli Salad

Pico de gallo, guacamole and chips

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

The cupcake menu: (All butter cream was European butter cream)

Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting (recipe can be found here)

Margarita with lime frosting

Devil’s Food with chocolate ganache and vanilla butter cream

Vanilla bean cake with vanilla butter cream

Ice cream cone cupcakes with devils food cake and vanilla butter cream

Smash Cakes:

Grace’s cake was strawberry banana with vanilla butter cream

Ella’s cake was blueberry with vanilla butter cream


Sea Shells– made using a plastic mold purchased from Michaels and melted Baker’s brand white chocolate bars

Sand dollars– made by rolling gum paste to 1/4″ thick, cutting with round cutter, and hand drawing the design

Hibiscus flowers, fish, and Sign– made by coloring and molding gum paste into desired shapes.

Sand- graham cracker crumbs

Vanilla Cake

Yield: Three 9″ rounds, 1 half sheet or 24 cupcakes


2 cups cake flour

1 3/4 cups plus 1 1/2 teaspoons All-purpose flour

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup butter, unsalted

3 cups sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract (I added 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste in addition)

1 cup egg whites or pasteurized egg whites in liquid form

1 1 /2 cups milk


Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray nonstick cake pans, muffin tins, or sheet pan with nonstick spray.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together cake flour, all purpose flour, and baking powder.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Add the salt and vanilla.

Set the mixer to low speed and gradually add the egg whites, scraping often.

Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture in two batches, starting with the flour.  Scrape down the bowl between each addition and beat until thoroughly combined.  Set the mixer to medium high speed for about 20 seconds then stop and scrape the sides of the bowl.

Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans or muffin tins.  For 9″ cake pans, bake 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cupcakes take 20 -25 minutes or until they spring back after being touched.

Allow cakes to cool for 20 minutes until flipping out of pan.  Cool completely before icing.


To make the margarita cake, add 1 tablespoon of key lime juice to batter and zest 1 key lime.  Omit the vanilla bean paste.

To make the strawberry banana cake, fold in 1 smashed banana and 1/2 cup of pureed strawberries to finished batter before dividing into pans.

To make blueberry cake, fold in 1 cup of pureed and strained blueberries to finished batter.

Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake

Yield: Three- 9″ rounds, 1 half sheet, or 24 cupcakes


2 2/3 cups All-purpose flour

1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon pure almond extract

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 cup strong coffee


Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray pans to be used with non stick spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream, vanilla, and almond extract.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy.

Set the mixer to low speed and add the eggs, one at a time, scraping between each addition.

Alternately add the flour and sour cream mixtures to the butter mixture in two batches, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  Scrape down the bowl after each addition.

Gradually pour in the coffee.  Scrape down the bowl and beat until thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly between the pans.  For 9″ cake, bake 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.  For cupcakes bake 20-25 minutes or until they spring back after being touched.

Allow cakes to cool for 20 minutes before flipping out of pans.  Cool completely before icing.

Recipes adapted from: The Confetti Cakes Cookbook by Elisa Strauss

European Butter Cream

Yield: enough to frost 24 cupcakes


22 ounces granulated sugar

9 ounces egg whites, or pasteurized egg whites in liquid form

20 ounces unsalted European butter, cut into small chunks, half cold half room temperature

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

2 tablespoons vanilla powder


In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla powder.  Whisk together over a pot of boiling water, whisking constantly until mixture is heated to 120 degrees and the sugar crystals have completely dissolved.

Place the bowl on the stand mixer and fit with whip attachment.

Whip the egg white sugar mixture on high speed until stiff peaks form and the bowl cools down.

Once stiff peaks have formed, set mixer to low speed and slowly add in your butter 5 ounces at a time.  Once you have added all of your butter set your mixer to medium high speed and continue to whip meringue/ butter mixture until the mixture has emulsified together and has achieved a smooth creamy texture.

If your butter cream is too warm, your mixture may become too liquid.  If this happens, simply refrigerate your mixture for 10 minutes, then try re-whipping again.  It may come together some days and others take a while depending on the temperature of your kitchen and humidity.


To make margarita frosting, add 1 teaspoon of lime juice to every 1 cup of European butter cream. Use green sanding sugar to “rim”cupcakes.

Source: Feast on this! original

Chocolate Ganache

Yield: 2-3 cups

1 cup heavy cream

9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 tablespoon light corn syrup


Place chocolate in a glass or metal bowl.  Set aside.

Scald cream in microwave safe bowl or in a saucepan over medium high heat on the stove.

Gently pour over chocolate and let set for 1 minute.

Whisk together chocolate and heavy cream until smooth and uniform in consistency.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until set.

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, add the set up chocolate cream mixture.  It will have a very thick consistency similar to that of truffles.

Mix on medium speed until mixture begins to soften.  Add in 1 tablespoon of light corn syrup to help soften and smooth the mixture.  You may need to add more to get your desired consistency for icing cupcakes.

Pipe or smooth onto cakes or cupcakes.

Source: Feast on this! original recipe


Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

chocolate-ganache-cupcake-3Happy Friday the 13th!  Today Kevin’s office is having a potluck lunch.  Every time they have ANY sort of food related function whether they are celebrating a birthday, a promotion, or a retirement, they all turn to Kevin for dessert.  No, he can’t bake…well he could if all of the ingredients and recipe were laid out in front of him, but anyway… I have been known as “Miss Mia” from day one of us dating and me sending in sweets to his office.  I don’t know why the guys in his office use “Miss Mia”, considering I acquired that name through Kevin helping out with boy scouts, but it works.  So they always turn to Kevin for dessert and ask what marvelous thing “Miss Mia” could send in.  This gets my gears turning and I try to come up with the most creative flavors or dessert I can think of at the time. While I am famous for my cheesecakes, I certainly can’t send them into the office every week.  That would get expensive!

Today, Friday, the office gets chocolate ganache cupcakes…or Hershey’s Holiday Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache and vanilla frosting…or Hershey’s Holiday Chocolate cupcakes with creme de menthe spiked chocolate ganache and Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Butter cream (well, frosting in my opinion).  Oh, and green frosting too since St. Patty’s Day is next week!


I can’t even give you one word to describe these cupcakes.  They are just that good. I had one last night at 10:30 after I finished icing them with the green frosting.  Oh my! SO scrumptious!  The cake itself is super light and fluffy.  The ganache is extremely creamy with a very nice light mint flavor and the frosting is like silk.  Normally I am not a fan of “American” butter cream or confectioner’s sugar and butter frosting, but this batch is so smooth and has the consistency of marshmallow fluff.  Delicious!

(Oh…check out the difference that lighting makes in your pictures.  The pictures above were taken with natural light this morning, while the picture right above the vanilla butter cream recipe were taken super early this morning in my kitchen lighting.  What a difference in shades of green!)

Hershey’s Holiday Chocolate Cake with creme de menthe chocolate ganache and Magnolia Bakery Butter Cream

serves 24


2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup Hershey’s cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup strong black coffee

1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola oil)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare cupcake pans with liners.  Set aside.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla; beat at medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (batter will be thin). Pour batter into cupcake liners filling 2/3 way full.

Bake 12- 18 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Source: Hershey’s Kitchens

Creme de menthe chocolate ganache

makes enough to top 24 cupcakes


6 ounces heavy whipping cream

8 ounces Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup creme de menthe


Scald heavy cream in microwave or on stove top.  Pour hot cream over chocolate chips.  Let sit for 5 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt from the heat of the cream.  Whisk mixture together until just combined.  Add creme de menthe and continue to whisk until blended and uniform in consistency.

Let ganache sit on the counter for 10 minutes before topping cooled cupcakes.

When ganache is cooled, lightly spoon a few teaspoons of ganache on top of cupcake, spreading over the entire top of the cupcake.  Let ganache set until “tacky” before icing with butter cream.

Source: Original Recipe


Vanilla Butter Cream

makes enough for one 2-layer 9 inch cake or 2 dozen cupcakes


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

6-8 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Place the butter in a large mixing bowl.  Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla.  Fitted with the whip attachment on medium speed, beat until smooth and cream, about 3-5 minutes.  Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency.  You may not need to add all of the sugar.  If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly.

Use and store the icing at room temperature because the icing will set if chilled.  Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Source: More from Magnolia

June 2018
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