Food Finale: Cupcake Extravaganza!

Food Finale: Cupcake Extravaganza!

I’m the daughter of a former professional baker. My mom would have been known as a pastry chef by today’s standards, but back when I was in college, she owned her own business creating award-winning desserts for restaurants and country clubs in Houston. I come by my predilection for baking quite naturally, and even though I no longer eat sugar, flour or dairy, I can’t keep the smile off my face while baking for my kiddo and my sugar-addicted husband.

You might say I developed an acute case of cupcake mania for our Room Fu 10th anniversary party, preparing four different kinds of mouth-watering treats because I just couldn’t narrow it down to fewer varieties. To save a little time, I baked up the cakes a week in advance using boxed cake mixes (with modifications noted below), froze them until the following Saturday, and made all of the frostings from scratch on the day of the event.

Also, there were garnishes. When it comes to cupcakes, I’m fancy like that.

My freezer full of cupcakes.

So let’s wrap up this week’s break from home decor with the Food Finale: Cupcake Extravaganza! As Kimberly noted on Facebook earlier this week, “Pork schmork. Make with the chocolate cupcake recipe, woman.” Who am I to deny such a request?

Here are the four different flavors I served last Saturday night…each recipe yields 24 cupcakes.

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

The mother of all sugar rushes. The Queen Bee of cupcakes. Go ahead and give me ten, because these babies are so decadent, you’re likely to gain a few el-bees just reading the recipe. But all partygoers gave ’em three thumbs-up. Do the math.

Photo: Brown-Eyed Baker.

Cupcakes:

1 box Duncan Hines Swiss chocolate cake mix
1 cup Silk dark chocolate almond milk
1 stick unsalted butter
3 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350°F for metal or glass pans, 325°F for dark or coated pans. Insert baking cups into muffin tins.

2. Brown the butter over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until it turns from golden to amber. Remove from heat and pour into large heat-safe bowl.

3. Add cake mix, almond milk and eggs and blend with electric mixer at low speed until moistened (about 30 seconds). Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour batter in pans. Note: This batter looks very heavy and a little goes a long way, so don’t fill your cups as high as you normally do. They may look like they’ll turn out to be lead weights, but they bake up light and moist.

4. Bake 19-22 minutes, rotating pans halfway through to bake evenly. Cake is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

Salted Caramel Sauce:

2 cups granulated sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1 tablespoon fleur de sel (I recommend getting a bit of this in the bulk spices dept instead of investing in a huge tub of it–it’s spendy)

I’m going to refer you straight to the Brown-Eyed Baker for the how-to’s of this sauce, because she has such wonderful photos and directions. Note: You can refrigerate the sauce for up to 2 weeks, warming the sauce before using.

Salted Caramel Frosting:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup salted caramel sauce
3 cups powdered sugar

1. Beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed for 5 minutes. Pour in the salted caramel and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to medium-low and sift the powdered sugar into the mix 1 cup at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional two to three minutes, until light and fluffy.

2. To finish, pipe frosting onto the top of each cupcake (or use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the frosting) and drizzle with salted caramel sauce.

Frosting recipe adapted from Brown-Eyed Baker

Coconut Cupcakes

I just think there’s nothing cuter than coconut cupcakes. All that texture–it’s the flokati rug of cupcakes.

Cupcakes:

1 box Duncan Hines French vanilla cake mix
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350°F for metal or glass pans, 325°F for dark or coated pans. Insert baking cups into muffin tins and set aside.

2. Bring coconut milk to boil in large deep saucepan over medium-high heat (coconut milk will boil up high in pan). Reduce heat to medium-low; boil until reduced to 1 cup, stirring occasionally.

3. Blend dry mix, reduced coconut milk, butter and eggs in large bowl at low speed until moistened (about 30 seconds). Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour batter in pans. Note: This batter looks very heavy and a little goes a long way, so don’t fill your cups as high as you normally do. They may look like they’ll turn out to be lead weights, but they bake up light and moist. 

4. Bake for 18-21 minutes, rotating pans halfway through to bake evenly. Cake is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:

1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups sweetened flaked coconut

1. Bring coconut milk to boil in large deep saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; boil until reduced to 1/3 cup, stirring occasionally–25 to 30 minutes.

2. Beat butter in large bowl until smooth using an electric mixer. Add sugar, 1/3 cup reduced coconut milk, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat on medium-low speed until blended, scraping down sides of bowl. Increase to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy.

3. Using small offset spatula or the back of a spoon, swirl frosting over top of cupcakes. Sprinkle with coconut and pat down the tops.

This recipe was adapted from Epicurious.

 

Loading up pre-party.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red velvet cupcakes are a bit ubiquitous, but because they’re such a crowd pleaser, it’s hard to resist serving them at a party.

Cupcakes:

1 box Duncan Hines red velvet cake mix
1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350°F for metal or glass pans, 325°F for dark or coated pans. Insert baking cups into muffin tins.

2. Blend cake mix, milk, butter and eggs in a large bowl at low speed until moistened (about 30 seconds). Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour batter in pans. Note: This batter looks very heavy and a little goes a long way, so don’t fill your cups as high as you normally do. They may look like they’ll turn out to be lead weights, but they bake up light and moist.

3. Bake for 19-22 minutes, rotating pans halfway through to cook evenly. Cake is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 ounces butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
Red sugar sprinkles, for garnish

1. In a large bowl, whip the butter and cream cheese on high speed for about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl down as necessary. Reduce the speed to low and sift the powdered sugar into the mix one cup at a time until all is incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Increase the speed to medium high and whip for a few minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary.

2. Add a light dusting of red sugar sprinkles to finish.

Frosting recipe adapted from Brown-Eyed Baker.

Lemon Cupcakes

Lemon is one of Jeb’s favorite flavors, so these cupcakes were a little bit of love especially for him.

Cupcakes:

1 box Duncan Hines lemon supreme cake mix
1 1/3 cups lemonade
1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
3 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350°F for metal or glass pans, 325°F for dark or coated pans. Insert baking cups into muffin tins.

2. Blend cake mix, lemonade, butter and eggs in a large bowl at low speed until moistened (about 30 seconds). Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour batter in pans. Note: This batter looks very heavy and a little goes a long way, so don’t fill your cups as high as you normally do. They may look like they’ll turn out to be lead weights, but they bake up light and moist.

3. Bake for 18-21 minutes, rotating pans halfway through to cook evenly. Cake is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

Pre-frosting lemon cupcakes.

Whipped Lemon Buttercream Frosting:

1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest from two large lemons
Pinch of salt

1. In a large bowl, whip the butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth (about 1 minute).  One cup at a time, add in the powdered sugar and mix on medium-low speed until incorporated.  Add the salt.  Continue to beat on medium-high speed until smooth (about 1-2 minutes). Mix in the heavy cream, lemon juice and zest of 1 of the lemons on low speed until well blended.  Increase the mixer speed and whip on high speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed (about 4-5 minutes).

2. Using 2nd lemon, grate zest over cupcakes to finish.

Frosting recipe adapted from Carolina Charm.

 

2017-09-21T16:22:41+00:00 Categories: Room Fu|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

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