Reese’s Peanutbutter Cupcakes

Reese's peanut butter cupcakeIf you like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups as much as I do, you’ll definitely want to try this irresistable  cupcake combination. It uses the same  rich chocolate fudge cake recipe as I used for the Oreo Cookie Cupcakes. Get the recipe here. I topped these with a light creamy peanut butter buttercream frosting,  and piped them full with a surprise filling that is thick and creamy just like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Both filling and frosting were do delicious, we couldn’t stop eating and licking our fingers as we made these. We literally piped piles onto our fingers and ate it straight. Peanut butter lovers beware!

Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting
The whipping cream and abundant powdered sugar keep this frosting light and fluffy.
1/2 cup salted butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 lbs. powdered sugar
6-8 oz. whipping cream

Beat the butter and peanut butter together in a mixer until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar until smoothly blended. Starting on low speed, slowly add the whipping cream until mixed in. Turn the mixer to medium-high for 2-3 minutes until it gets light and fluffy.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Filling
There is much less sugar and dairy in this filling recipe, leaving it heavier than the frosting but too thick or oily from the peanut butter.
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk

Once the cupcakes have cooled, they often settle with concave centers. You can pipe the filling right on top of the cupcake to fill the depression or you can inject the cupcake using a piping bag and a plain round tip. Pile the buttercream frosting on top has high as your heart’s content.

Oreo Cookie Cupcake Recipe

Easy cupcake recipeThese mini cupcakes were the result of my passionate love affair with Oreo cookies and for baking delicious cakes from scratch. Having thought about them for months on end, a summer family camping trip was finally the perfect excuse to indulge! These not only have Oreos blended into the frosting, they also imitate the cookie with a rich chocolate cake recipe that has my version of the original Oreo white cream filling piped inside. As if that wasn’t enough to satisfy my cookie craving, these little guys just weren’t complete without a mini Oreo cookie on top. They are one very large bite of Oreo cookie bliss!
Easy cupcake recipeThe cake recipe is a dense rich Chocolate Fudge Cake recipe from Toba Garrett’s book “The Well Decorated Cake”. It is by far my favorite recipe, and people are always asking where I got it.

Toba’s Chocolate Fudge Cake Recipe
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (287 grams)
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar (285 grams)
3/4 cups dark brown sugar (170 grams)
1 cup dutch process cocoa (110 grams)
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 oz. melted semisweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and line 2 9-inch baking dishes with parchment paper covering the bottoms. Measure and add all ingredients (except the melted chocolate chocolate) into a large mixing bowl. Blend 30 seconds at low speed. Blend in the melted chocolate slowly, scraping the bowl constantly. Beat for three minutes on high speed, scraping the bowl. Spoon into pans and level with a spatula. Bake layers for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean

Easy cake recipe The cake formed beautiful domes in the oven and cooled with depressions in the middle. This ended up being the PERFECT shape for piping some white Oreo filling before applying the frosting and cookie topper.

Easy cookie cake recipe This what the cupcakes looked like with their little depressions piped with the Oreo filling. This extra surprise in the middle was a big hit with everyone who tasted the cupcakes. If you are using another chocolate cake recipe, you might need to inject the filling into your cupcake using a medium round tip and a piping bag.

Oreo Cookie Filling Recipe
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup shortening
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

Whip the butter and shortening until fluffy. Mix in the vanilla and powdered sugar until a thick creamy consistency is achieved.

Oreo Crumb Buttercream Frosting Recipe
1 cup butter
1 cup shortening
2 lbs. powdered sugar
6-8 oz. heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup finely ground Oreo cookies

Cream the butter and shortening until light and fluffy. Starting on low speed, mix in the powdered sugar until the mixture becomes thick and smooth. Slowly add the whipping cream and turn mixer to high speed for 1-2 minutes until frosting becomes light and fluffy. Add the ground Oreo cookies until just evenly mixed in.

**Special note:
The cupcakes I photographed had much more Oreo cookie in the frosting, and it made the consistency a little too thick and crumbly. I adjusted the recipe above to result in a more creamy Oreo-flavored frosting. You can add more or less depending on your own preferences.

Coconut Cupcakes

Soft tender coconut cupcakesIt’s been a long and busy month of baking! This is the first of several cupcake posts that will be posted in the next few days. This recipe is from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes, an inspirational and absolutely fabulous source for recipes and cake baking technique. I highly recommend it!  These are a coconut chiffon cake made with coconut milk and coconut extract, topped with a very  buttery coconut buttercream  frosting and sprinkled with toasted coconut. If you’re in the mood for… yes coconut, this is the treat for you!

Rose's Heavenly Cakes Coconut CupcakeThese cupcakes are every bit as tender and moist as this photo implies.  The recipe is a modification to a chiffon cake so that it stands up to baking in a regular cake pan, as opposed to a tube pan. I took it one step further and tried cupcakes.

The frosting is a combination of an Italian Meringue recipe and a Coconut Creme Anglaise recipe (a French term for custard) mixed together in an exceptionally buttery buttercream frosting. We’re talking 4 sticks of butter in one batch. Expecting something greasy and heavy, I’ve never tasted anything so rich and creamy. Follow her instructions exactly, or else! Here is the meringue recipe from the book.  Check out Rose’s Heavenly Cakes for the rest.

Italian Meringue Recipe
2  large egg whites at room temperature
1/3 cup plus 2 T superfine sugar
2 T water
1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar

Beat egg whites until foamy. Heat 1/3 cup of the sugar and water in a sauce pan until sugar dissolves. Back at the mixer, beat in Cream of Tartar and remaining sugar until stiff peaks form.  Back at the saucepan, heat the simple syrup until just boiling (247 degrees F).  Remove from heat and gradually pour the hot syrup into the mixer as you beat the egg whites. The result is a beautiful meringue!

Coconut cake recipeThe recipe from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes is a bit complicated, but worth every step when all said and done. The batter involves

Best coconut cupcake recipeHere is what the cakes look like just out of the oven. I baked these until the tops just started to brown.

Rose's Heavenly Cakes Coconut Cupcake RecipeThe recipe calls for plain coconut sprinkles on top, but I thought toasting it would add an extra layer of flavor and add to the visual appeal of the cupcake.

Graduation Cake

mad hatter graduation cake Here is the latest cake made for an 8th Grade graduation party and a dear friend. This cake pushed my boundaries in layering, coloring, fondant work, and cake trimming. Many new lessons were learned.

Lesson #1: Cake consistency matters for stability
So far,  I’ve been searching for the ultimate moist soft cake recipes for my decorating projects. This cake exemplified why you really need a more dense and sturdy cake for a large multi-layered cake like this. The “book”  layers were made from an almond-poppyseed muffin recipe that both tasted delicious and withstood the trauma of decorating.  The other layers were made from a very soft white cake recipe that collapsed over time and made the fondant buckle. It was nerve wracking to say the least.

Trimming a mad hatter cake

Lesson #2: The shape of the cake is critical
My cakes always start as a computer or sketch design where the general proportion and shape is determined.  Precision in shaping and trimming the cake to scale, making sure everything even and balanced, really makes a difference.
Trimming a cake I fashioned my own template to center and trim the cakes evenly. For this particular layer, the top is larger than the bottom, so I cut cardboard rounds for each end and used them as a guide.
Decorating a book cake Trimming the book shapes took some patience. Square cakes are much more difficult to get even than round ones.
Filling and flavors for cakeLesson #3: Flavors are fun!
The white cakes were doused with almond-syrup, topped by a cream-cheese frosting followed by a cherry pie filling spread. The poppyseed cakes were frosted in a lemon-buttercream frosting that was mouthwatering! Get the recipe here. It’s the best I’ve ever tasted.
Layering and filling a cakeHere is a closeup of the filling. Notice the thick rim of buttercream around the outside edge. This helps to trap in the filling and avoid a bulge in your finish work.
Graduation cake fondant color Lesson #4: Color! Color! Color!
There is no such thing as a food coloring that looks just right on its own. I spent considerable time playing with the color balance in the design process and combined all sorts of shades when coloring the fondant to get an exact match.
Gum paste design work Lesson #5: Accessorize the cake ahead of time
Making the accessory decorations throughout the week made the cake decorating process more relaxing. When it was time to frost and assemble the cake, there was less to worry about.
How to apply fondant Here is a before and after of covering the book cakes with fondant.
Book ake This is what they looked like all trimmed and finished with detailed decoration. A very satisfying result!
Working with gum paste Lesson #6: Gum paste isn’t just for flowers.
The graduation caps and glitter “B” were all made from gum paste because it dries rock hard and can withstand some abuse without breaking. I end up using  it for something on nearly every cake I make.
Fondant cakeHere’s the cake all finished and on display at the party. It made a great centerpiece for a couple of hours before it was gobbled up.

4th of July Cake Pops

Making July 4th cake popsThis year, we added a new dessert to our 4th of July festivities: cake pops! Having attempted these once before, I invited a group of friends over to learn more about making cake pops together. Many lessons were learned. Of course I must pay homage to THE cake pop original, Bakerella. Her work is inspirational to say the least. You can learn all about her cake pops at Bakerella.com.
Cake Pop decorationsThe supplies for cake pop night were numerous:
- Candy melts for dipping and coating the cake pops
- Crock pots for keeping the chocolate melted
- Lollipop sticks
- Styrofoam blocks for each person to keep the cake pops upright
- Waxed paper to catch drips on the work surface
- Lollipop bags and twist ties for packaging
- Sprinkles and decorations in red, white and blue

Each invitee was asked to bring their own main ingredients. When the cake pops were done, everyone was welcome to take home their creations and share them at their own 4th of July festivities.
Making cake pops What are cake pops made of you might ask?
Cake pops are made from baked cake and frosting all mashed together until you get a dense, shapable dough that can be formed on a stick and dipped in chocolate.  The variety of flavors are as limitless as your imagination. Mine were made of Cherry-Chip cake and a tub of vanilla frosting. Others did chocolate and chocolate, and others yet did all vanilla.  You can even make cake pops from well-ground cookies and cream cheese. Our group’s favorite was Oreos. A few girls used Nutter Butters. They all tasted scrumptious!
How to make cake pops

Some key steps:
- The ‘dough’ MUST be chilled or things will fall apart quickly.
- To hold the cake on the stick, dip it in chocolate before attaching the cake.
- Make space to refrigerate and chill your cake pops as you work with them.

My Cake Pops
I attempted to make Bakerella’s cupcake-shaped pops. These were easier than I expected. The dough was shaped using small cookie cutters and pressing the dough with my hands. I dipped the bottoms first, then attached them to a lollipop stick. Once cooled, I dipped the white tops and gave them a sprinkle.
Cup Cake PopsMy Cake Truffle Flag
Not all cake pops have to be displayed on a stick! These were rolled and covered in chocolate to be eaten like truffles. It made for a very patriotic and colorful display.

Cake trufflesCake pops from the crew!
Every cake pop turned out with its own personality. It was really fun to see how each person made them a little differently. Here are some shots of what the girls made at the party. It was a great success!

July cake pops 4th of July cake popsJuly 4th cake popsCake pops on display