Chai Orange Cupcakes (muffins)

IMG_2677With Cinco de Mayo behind us, it is time to start preparing for next weekend’s excitment: Mother’s Day. Maybe it is not as exciting as a day dedicated to margharitas and mexican food (according to Wikipedia it is actually “to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War [in parts of Mexico] and today the date is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.”) but it does have its charms.

Generally (at least in my family), Mother’s Day means food. More specifically, it means brunch. Whether you are making something for a whole gaggle of people, you are making breakfast in bed for just your mom, or you are going out, I am a firm believer that the best way to show love is with baked goods.

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I hear that there are people that do not immediately think, “This person in great, I should bake them something.” But who doesn’t love getting fresh baked goodness from another person? So, even if that is not your initial reaction, I say, show your mom you care and make her cake.

These cupcakaes are dense and spicy with just a touch of sweetness. They are practically muffins (Chai + orange sounds like breakfast and therefore these can be claimed as muffins, in my opinion). So why not make some muffin cakes for the woman who raised you?!

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Chai Orange Cupcakes

IMG_2614From my Cupcake Calendar/ the book 500 Cupcakes (Sellers Publishing, Inc.). Side note, I multiplied this by 1 1/2 to make 18, the ingredients below will make a dozen my amounts are in parenthesis to the right of the original recipe.

Ingredients:

Cupcakes

  • 2 cups cake flour, sifted (3 C)IMG_2629
  • 1 tsp baking powder (1 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp salt  (3/4 tsp)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (3 tsp)
  • 1 Tbs chai powder (1 Tbs + 1 1/2 tsp)*
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened (3/4 cup)
  • 2 large egg whites (3)**
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk (1 cup)
  • 1 Tbs orange zest (1 Tbs + 1 1/2 tsp)***

Orange Glaze****IMG_2632

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Juice squeezed from one orange juice

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350° and line your muffin tins with liners (12 for amount on the left, 18 for amount on the right in parenthesis).

Mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and chai in a bowl. Beat the butter, add sugar and cream until smooth. Add egg whites slowly, beating well. Slowly add the flour mixture (this gets really dry and hard to move) and finally add the buttermilk and orange zest; mix until combined.

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Spoon the batter into cups until 2/3 full (about one big tablespoon or an ice cream scoop).

Bake cupcakes for 20-22 minutes. Remove pan from oven and cool slightly (about five minutes) then transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to finish cooling.

IMG_2692To make the icing put about 1 cup of powdered sugar in a small bowl and squeeze orange juice a little bit at a time, whisking after adding, until a smooth consistency and liquidy without being too runny. When cupcakes are completely cool dip tops into glaze and set upright to harden/absorb slightly.

Notes:

* I wound up increasing this significantly. Definitely test your batter, depending on the chai powder you may need more. Mine was a “Chai Latte” and I don’t think it was particularly strong.

** If you want these to be more cake-y and less dense muffin-y, I suggest whipping these and IMG_2687folding them into the wet instead of beating them in.

*** I wound up thinking these were a little too orange-y and would maybe decrease this a little. I suggest adding slightly less and testing, it is in the last batch of additions so it is pretty easy to start with less and add more.

**** The original recipe called for a lemon cream cheese frosting. I thought it might overpower the chai cake so I went with a glaze, but if you are looking for cupcakes, the frosting will definitely help.

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Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

IMG_2017So, recently I have been pretty bad at the actual writing part of this blog. The being in my kitchen making (what I think are) delicious things, check. Taking the time to take pictures of said things, check. Actually sitting down to write the post and upload the pictures, not so much.

I made these a little while ago, but am just now getting aroung to posting. If you like chocolate, this cake is for you. The cake is rich, and dark, and crumbly.  It is sort of like devils food cake, but chocolaty-er. The supersweet buttercream frosting is the perfect pairing, providing a creamy, sweet contrast to the not-so-sweet cake.

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 2/3 Cup cocoa
  • 1 Cup boiling water
  • 2 Cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 3 eggs

Frosting:

  • 1 Cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 Cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1-3 Tbs water (as needed)
  • Food Coloring

Directions:

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Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners (I got 18 out of this recipe).

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and wisk in cocoa, set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, wisk together flour and baking soda.

In a stand mixer (or in a separate bowl with electric beaters) cream butter and sugar together. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in cocoa and water mixture alternately with flour.

Divide among lined cupcake pans, filling 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean. Set on rack to cool.

To make frosting cream butter in mixer and add sugar gradually  Add in vanilla and water as needed to reach the right consistency. Add food coloring, if desired, I used a purple gel. To create the rosette frost in a continuous swirl with a large star tip starting fromt the center and working your way out to the edges in a circular fashion.

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Blackberry Spice Cupcakes

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I am an epicurious girl. When I want to make something but am not quite sure what, epicuious is my go-to. Every now and then, I just browse through cakes or cookies and if I find something I think I might want to make at somepoint, I putit in my “Recipe Box” (it is my favorite feature). That is how I found/re-found this recipe.

This cake recipe looks delicious. I wanted cupcakes, so it took some conversion, and

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Adding sour cream.

it is certainly far from perfect. The first time I made it I used the whole recipe and it made 22. The second time I made it, I halved the recipe and got 18. I don’t think I did anything differently, but I was in someone else’s kitchen the first time, so who knows, maybe there was something different…

For Cake

  • 2 cups cake flour (sift before measuring)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoonground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

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    Fill cups 2/3 of the way full.

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sour cream

For Filling:

  • 1 1/2 1/2-pint baskets blackberries
  • 2 tbs  sugar

For Frosting:

  • 1 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream

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    Egg whites, stiff but not dry.

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Plus blackberries for garnish.

Preheat oven to 350° and line two muffin tin with cupcake liners . Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in egg yolks. Beat in dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with sour cream. Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in medium bowl until stiff but not dry; fold into batter in 2additions. Fill each cup about 2/3 of the way full (about a quarter cup or an ice cream scoop, if you have one).

Bake for 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

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To fill cupcakes cut small circle, fairly deep but not all the way through, to make cutout. Cut off about half of the cutout top so that there is room for the filling. Use a teaspoon and fill in hole about 3/4 to 7/8 of the way. Put the top back on and push down a little, careful not to overfill.

For Frosting, cream butter and cream cheese together. Beat in sugar then sour cream and vanilla. To frost, I used a large star tip to make rosettes and topped them with a blackberry.

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