Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes and November’s Carroll Cafe Menu

Carroll Cafe will be this Friday, November 8th.  There will be a fantastic line-up of treats once again!  The menu includes:

Fresh Apple Bundt Cake
King Arthur Brownies
Cranberry Upside Down Pumpkin Cake
Monster Cookies (gluten-free)
Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies

Hope to see you there!

And just in time for the next Carroll Cafe, here’s the last recipe from last month’s concert.

These cupcakes are pretty fantastic.  They’re definitely decadent and have the best of both worlds:  dense, custard-y pumpkin pie flavor, and sweet, rich yet slightly tangy, cream cheese frosting.  There’s just the perfect hint of cinnamon.  You can’t go wrong with these, they’re the perfect fall treat, and would also be a huge hit at any Thanksgiving if you’re looking for something a little different than pie.

Pumpkin Pie CupcakesPumpkin Pie Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (A Seat at the Table)

Makes 12 cupcakes

Adapted from Pioneer Woman

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter, frozen and grated
  • 2 heaping cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease 1 muffin tin and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.  Cut in (or grate frozen) butter into dry ingredients until fully incorporated.

In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, and vanilla.  Pour pumpkin mixture into flour mixture and fold gently until just incorporated.

Scoop into muffin tins, filling almost to the top (they don’t rise very much).  Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool 15 minutes before removing from the pan.  Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 2 pkgs (16oz) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese until smooth, then beat in the butter.  Add powdered sugar and cinnamon, then add in the vanilla extract.

Black and White Chocolate Cupcakes

These cupcakes are delicious.  The chocolate cake is super moist and so tender.  It has a rich, dark chocolate flavor that really shines.  It’s almost brownie-like.  Topped with a rich white chocolate frosting these are decadent and sure to be a new classic.  I’m not usually a fan of white chocolate, but the combination of white chocolate and cream cheese works wonderfully.  Make sure you use white chocolate bars as chips are coated with something to keep them in their chip shape and won’t melt as smoothly.  The cake batter is very runny, don’t be surprised when you’re mostly pouring it into the cupcake liners, but it just means it’s going to be the most amazingly moist cake you’ve ever had.

Black and White CupcakesBlack and White Chocolate Cupcakes (A Seat at the Table)

Makes about 20 cupcakes

Adapted from Orangette and Just a Pinch

  • 2 oz good quality semisweet chocolate
  • 2/3 cup hot brewed coffee
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300°F.  Line your muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.

Finely chop chocolate and combine with hot coffee, let stand for a few minutes, then whisk together until chocolate has fully dissolved.

In a large bowl, sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  In another bowl, beat eggs on high until slightly thickened and lemon-colored.  Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla and melted-chocolate mixture, beating until well mixed.  Slowly add dry ingredients, beating on low until just combined.  Carefully pour batter into prepared muffin tins.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow cakes to cool completely in the tins on wire racks.

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 pkgs (12 oz) cream cheese frosting, room temperature
  • 9 oz white chocolate squares (not chips!), chopped and melted
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Pour in cooled chocolate and beat well. Add butter, then milk and sugar, beating after each addition.  Taste and adjust sugar as needed.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

While vanilla is not my usual go-to decadent treat, Naomi’s request for vanilla cupcakes for her birthday party was the perfect opportunity for me to try out some more classic recipes.  The kids seemed to like these, and the parents loved them. And even though they weren’t chocolate-y, I still thought they were deliciously decadent vanilla treats.

The buttercream uses a vanilla bean for maximum vanilla flavor, and adds the lovely specks to mark true vanilla flavor.  The cake had a great crumb, and a strong vanilla flavor that can stand up to the intense buttercream.

Vanilla CupcakesVanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Makes 24 cupcakes

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line two muffin pans with 24 liners, or grease with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, beat together butter, sour cream, egg, egg yolks, and vanilla.  Sift in the dry ingredients and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds, or until smooth and satiny.  Scrape down the sides with a spatula and make sure there are no flour pockets left.

Divide batter among the 24 cupcakes and bake for 18-22 minutes, until lightly golden on top.  Remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool.

Vanilla Bean ButtercreamVanilla cupcakes with vanilla bean buttercream

  • 1 3/4 cup (3 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • paste from 1 vanilla bean
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp heavy cream

Using the whisk attachment to a stand mixer or an electric mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Reduce speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar.  Once incorporated, increase the speed and add vanilla extract, then heavy cream.  Whipping until fully incorporated and has reached your desired consistency.  Frost completely cooled cupcakes.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red velvet cupcakes are so pretty.  These cupcakes are vibrant and fluffy and topped with a delicious cream cheese frosting.  These colorful cupcakes are great for Valentine’s day, but they’re also pretty enough to glam up any other day too.

While I am still struggling to learn how to pipe frosting properly, if you don’t have piping bags or all those fancy things (which really are just too complicated for me), I recommend using a handy ziploc bag and just snipping the corner and piping your frosting on with that.  Easy, no mess to clean up, and in my attempts at piping it turns out just as nice…

On the other hand, if you have any tips for learning how to pipe frosting, I’m all ears!

Red Velvet CupcakesRed Velvet Cupcakes

Adapted from Joy the Baker

Makes 20 cupcakes or 2 9-inch cakes

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 Tbsp (2oz) red food coloring
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease muffin tins or cake pans well with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, mix cocoa, vanilla and red food coloring to make a thick paste.  Add to the batter and mix thoroughly.

Slowly add half of the buttermilk, then half of the flour and salt, mixing well on low (or by hand) after each addition, then repeat with remaining buttermilk and flour.

Add baking soda and white vinegar and beat until well combined.

Spoon batter into prepared baking tins.  Reduce heat and bake at 325° for 18-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then place one a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

My Favorite Cream Cheese FrostingRed Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

makes enough to frost 20 cupcakes

  • 2 pkgs (16oz) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese until smooth, then beat in the butter.  Add powdered sugar and then add in the vanilla extract.

Blackberry Lime Cupcakes

If you happened to be at Seekers church on Sunday you got to try the Peaches and Cream Cupcakes, and these Blackberry Lime Cupcakes.

These cupcakes are the same as the Key Lime and Blueberry Swirl Cupcakes I made a few months ago.  Just swap out the blueberries for blackberries.

The frosting was slightly different to emphasize the blackberries more than the lime.  It turned out to be such a pretty color!

Blackberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes enough to frost 60 mini cupcakes, or 24 regular cupcakes

  • 6 Tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 12 oz. (1 1/2 packages) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup blackberry syrup
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups confectioners sugar

In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy.  Combine the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Peaches and Cream Cupcakes

Here’s some celebratory (cup)cakes.  While there is lots to celebrate in life, right now I’m celebrating my fixed computer!  I had to send my poor laptop into the Mac doctors to be fixed.  Fortunately there’s a flat rate to send it to the warehouse for repairs and it came back with a new screen (which I knew was broken), and a new battery (which I didn’t know was leaking/swollen?!), so now it feels like a new machine!  It had been getting really hot on the bottom and the battery seemed to run out rather quickly, but I had just thought it was all the hot weather + being used for long periods of time.  But apparently I was underestimating my mac and it was in need of a new battery instead.

Other things to celebrate:  the safe arrival of a church member’s family from Uganda, seasonal fresh fruit, the Olympics, slightly cooler weather, this is my 101st post, etc.  So pick a reason and make some celebratory cake, because there is always a reason to be thankful and eat cake!

These cupcakes were a bit of a challenge to get the right peach flavor, but it turns out that they just need a day to meld and fully develop their fruity flavor.  You’ll need freeze dried peaches for this which can be found at Target (the Archer Farms brand).  Freeze dried peaches impart a lot of peach flavor without watering down the batter or frosting with a lot of fresh peach juice.  You’ll need two 1.75oz packages, one for the cupcakes and one for the frosting.

Peaches and Cream Cupcakes

Makes about 60 mini-cupcakes, or 24 regular size.

Adapted from Week Of Menus

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1.75 oz (49 grams) freeze dried peaches, pulverized in a mini-food processor
  • 2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger (optional)
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 large peach, pureed (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line muffin tins with liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and ginger.  Set aside.

In a measuring cup, mix together the buttermilk, pureed peach, and vanilla extract.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Beat in the now powdered freeze dried peaches.

Mix the flour into the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk mixture.  Make sure to end with the flour and be careful not to overmix (I recommend switching to a spatula for the last combination).

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins.  Bake for about 10-12 minutes for mini-cupcakes, or 21-24 minutes for regular-cupcakes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow cupcakes to cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the pan, then place on a cooling rack until completely cooled and ready to frost.

Peaches and Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes enough to frost 60 mini-cupcakes or 24 regular cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 12 oz (1 1/2 packages) cream cheese, room temperature (I used 1/3 less fat)
  • 1.75 oz freeze dried peaches, pulverized in a mini-food processor
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 large peach, finely minced or pureed
  • 2 1/2 -3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until well blended and fluffy.  Add remaining ingredients and blend well.  Taste as you go and adjust the amount of sugar to your desired sweetness.

Toasted Coconut Cupcakes (Vegan)

This was also the first time I’ve created a vegan baked good.  I was very skeptical.  I mean butter and eggs are the best friends of a baker!

Fortunately, this recipe was surprisingly amazing.  A friend said you wouldn’t even know they were vegan.  My dad, dessert connoisseur that he is, said that these Toasted Coconut cupcakes were his favorite of the Fresh Strawberry and the Double Chocolate Raspberry cupcakes.  If you like coconut, you’ll definitely like these!

I found the frosting to be too sweet at first, but if you let it sit for a day, it mellows out.  I didn’t use very much of the frosting, so I’ve halved the original frosting recipe.

Toasted Coconut Cupcakes (Vegan)

Makes 21 regular cupcakes, 72 mini cupcakes

Adapted from Chef Chloe (who won cupcake wars)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp white or apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line muffin tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, oil, vanilla, and vinegar.  Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until just combined.

Fill the cupcake liners most of the way full.  Bake for 8-10 minutes for mini cupcakes, or 15-18 minutes for regular cupcakes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with a few crumbs clinging to it.  Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.

Coconut Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil (should be solid at room temperature)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 -3 Tbsp coconut milk
  • 1-2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

While the oven preheats for the cupcakes, place the shredded coconut on a baking sheet and toast for a few minutes, stirring frequently.

Using an electric mixer, beat the coconut oil until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk.  Frost the cupcakes and then sprinkle the toasted coconut on top.

German Chocolate Cupcakes

In honor of my uncle’s 40th birthday on Sunday, his wife asked me to bake cupcakes for them to take to church as a surprise celebration for him.  Ken isn’t much a of a sweets eater, but when it comes to that side of the family nothing says birthday like German Chocolate Cake.  My grandpa and my dad both request German Chocolate Cake on their birthday (which happens to be the same day), so I figured this traditional cake would be a crowd pleaser for such a momentous occasion.  And since cheesecake is Ken’s favorite dessert, I made Double Chocolate Cheesecake for the smaller birthday celebration Sunday evening.

I tried out a new recipe, instead of using the recipe on the inside of the Baker’s German chocolate packaging.  This cake tasted more like dark chocolate and my dad claims the frosting tasted “lighter” than usual, but I thought it tasted pretty spot on.  I’d definitely make these cupcakes again.

German Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes about 24

Adapted from Ina Garten in House Beautiful

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup natural cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp coffee, cooled

Preheat oven to 350°.  Line cupcake pans with liners.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream and coffee.  Alternate mixing in the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture into the creamed butter, beginning with buttermilk and ending with flour.  Be careful not to overmix, but make sure you get everything mixed in from the bottom.

Divide the batter into the cupcake tins.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing.  Allow to cool completely before frosting.

German Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 (12oz) can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 2 cups pecans, chopped

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the milk, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, and salt with a wooden spoon.  Allow mixture to get just to boiling point, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes until thickened.  Mixture should coat the back of the spoon.

Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl.  Stir in the coconut and pecans.  Allow to cool at least 1 hour before frosting.  Place in the fridge if needed to speed the cooling process.

 

Chamomile Tea Cakes

These tea cakes are a delicate, light, and sweet treat.  They’re perfect for a a little snack with your tea or coffee!

I found chamomile at my local Asian market (Hmart), but if you can’t find it you can use chamomile tea bags.  The chamomile I found was full of large pieces, so I’d recommend crushing them up before using.

Chamomile Tea Cakes

Makes 24 mini-cupcakes

Adapted from Joy the Baker

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp dried chamomile, crushed
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Line a mini-muffin pan with liners (I don’t normally do this, but these cakes are very delicate, so I’d recommend it).

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chamomile.  Beat until mixture is slightly course and sandy, about 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, and vanilla.  Pour half of the milk mixture into the flour mixture, beating until just incorporated.  Pour the remaining milk mixture in and then turn up the speed on your mixer until batter is well blended, no more than a minute.

Divide the batter into the mini-muffin tins.

Bake for about 10-14 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before removing.

Sprinkle with powder sugar and serve with a cup of tea.

The best cupcakes ever!

In case you were under any delusions that cooking is always easy for me, these cupcakes were definitely a struggle!  This was the first time I’ve filled a cupcake, and despite having the proper tool (a piping bag and piping tip), it was incredibly frustrating.  My tip would get clogged, or I pressed too hard and the filling came out the bottom, or I couldn’t tell if there was any going in or not!  Despite the frustration, these were SO worth it!!!!  I think these are by far the best cupcakes I’ve ever made.  The chocolate cake is SO moist and tender, the raspberry is a delicious contrast to the rich chocolate, and the frosting is chocolate-y goodness.  I can’t rave about these cupcakes enough!

Double Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

Makes 32 cupcakes

Slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats

Cupcakes:

  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups hot brewed (decaf) coffee
  • 2 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups lowfat buttermilk
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Raspberry filling:

  • 1 (12oz) bag frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch, sifted

Ganache frosting:

  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp corn syrup
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
To make the raspberry filling, puree the raspberries in a blender, or food processor (or magic bullet).  Strain raspberries into a small saucepan to remove the seeds.  Whisk in the sugar and cornstarch, heat until mixture comes to a boil, stirring frequently.  Once thickened, remove the pan from the heat.  Chill before using.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease cupcake pans (even if they’re nonstick).  Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl and pour the hot coffee over it, allow to sit for a few minutes.  Whisk until smooth and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; whisk until well mixed.

In another large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer until slightly thickened and pale yellow.  Slowly add the oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and chocolate-coffee mixture, mixing until well blended.  Add the dry ingredients and stir until just combined (batter will still be slightly lumpy).

Divide batter into cupcake tins, about 3/4 full.  Bake for 17-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Allow the cupcakes to cool for about 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, make the ganache frosting.  Add the chocolate chips to a medium, heatproof bowl.  In a saucepan, combine the cream, sugar, and corn syrup.  Heat until just boiling.  Immediately pour the hot mixture over the chocolate chips, allow to sit for a few minutes.  Slowly whisk the mixture until smooth, then whisk in butter one tablespoon at a time.  Let mixture stand at room temperature to thicken before attempting to pipe or spread it.

To assemble the cupcakes, place the raspberry filling in a pastry bag.  Pipe a few teaspoons of filling into each cupcake, being careful not to poke all the way through.  Spread the ganache over the tops of the cupcakes.  Allow the cupcakes to set completely before serving.