Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

This proved to be a bit of an adventure. The cupcakes were fine but I'm fairly new to the homemade frosting game so trying out caramel frosting proved difficult. But i can't do things easily. I wanted to either make some caramel frosting or something with brown sugar in it, i just felt it would go well with the cupcake.'s how it went. 

Apple Cupcakes


3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, room temperature (45g)
3/4 cup Apple Sauce, smooth (I subbed apple butter because its what I had)
1 cup Apples, diced
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 Large Egg, room temperature
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/8 tsp Ground Cloves
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/8 tsp Salt
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake liners
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy
  • Beat in the egg and vanilla extract
  • In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices together
  • Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until just combined
  • Beat in half of the applesauce until just combined making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl
  • Combine half of the remaining flour, followed by the rest of the applesauce
  • Mix in the last of the flour and beat until just combined
  • Fold in the diced apple
  • Divide the batter among the cupcake papers, filling each till about 2/3 full
  • Bake until cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed or a toothpick comes out clean, about 18 - 20mins
  • Cool for about 10mins before removing cupcakes from pan and cooling on a wire rack

Caramel Frosting


1 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

Mix the brown sugar, butter & water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. (Brown sugar should be packed so tightly in the cup that when you dump it into the saucepan it will retain its shape). Turn the heat to medium-high and melt the butter and sugar together, stirring constantly. 

Bring the mixture to a boil and continue boiling for one minute before removing it from the heat. While the mixture is still warm, add the vanilla and then stir in the powdered sugar under it reaches the frosting consistency you desire.

Sounds easy right?! NOT! 

The first try at it I didn't boil the mixture long enough and it ended up really grainy. Tasty but grainy and I couldn't use it. I tried adding water, heating it again, adding powdered sugar, etc. But in the end I ended up with super sweet caramel in a bowl. 

Take 2 went much better. 

I had just enough brown sugar to make another batch and I boiled that sucker for like 4 minutes, using a whisk to make sure it was all dissolved and not grainy. Then it was so warm I wanted to cool it down in the fridge....and it got super hard! So I heated it a bit before it went into the piping bag and all was well. It was tough to pipe tho. 

I piped it into circles but the color of the frosting made it look kinda like poo on the cupcake (sorry it did), so I opted to smooth it out with my trusty offset spatula. It made it look much more like an actual caramel apple anyway.  

I left them at room temp for the day so we could try one after dinner.

YUM! They look a little iffy but the flavor was great. The cake is super moist and the pieces of apple were tasty and perfectly cooked. The frosting really made it taste like a caramel apple. They went great together. 

Would I make it again? The cupcake yes...the frosting- if I'm feeling a bit crazy maybe, otherwise I'd make some cinnamon vanilla frosting next time. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

This is my now infamous (at least around anyone who knows me & esp. to hubby, KC) pumpkin bread. I am obsessed with pumpkin! I have made pumpkin everything- including cream sauce (yum!). This is easy and really yummy but not too heavy or sweet.

*Please note I halfed this recipe this time since I was making one loaf to bring to my father-in-law since he was having shoulder surgery. It makes 2 HUGE loafs, you could even make it into 3 medium sized loafs. Just be warned it makes a lot!

3 cups sugar
3 1/3 cups flour
1 cup oil
4 eggs
1 1/2 tspn salt
2 tspn baking soda
2/3 cup water
1 tspn of cinnamon
1 tspn nutmeg
a pinch of ground cloves ( maybe 1/8 tspn)
15 oz can of Pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix)

Grease the bottom and 1/2 sides of loaf pans.
Mix flour, baking soda, salt & spices together in a bowl.
Beat sugar and oil until well combined. Add in eggs.
Add flour mixture & water alternately ending with flour mixture.
Beat in pumpkin until all is well combined.
Pour into pans.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 60 minutes/1 hour.

Cool completely and then enjoy!

It went over really well with dad-in-law & mom-in-law as well. It travels well and is a great fall flavor.

I am so excited it's pumpkin coking season again!!!! I love fall flavors so much!

My next baking adventure.....caramel apple cupcakes!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Megaman Cupcakes

It was a very close friend's birthday this past Sept 29th. He is one of those friends that goes out of his way to make you happy, and does all kinds of exceptional things for you. He always does these crazy extravagant things for hubby & me so I needed to try and at least do something unexpected and special for his birthday.

I haven't worked with fondant much since KC's Metal Gear Cake and it was time for me to work on my skills some more (lol). So Andy's favorite video game ever is Megaman so it was a natural thing for me to make these cupcakes out of. I have never made anything this tiny in fondant either, so it was a challenge for sure.

Lucky for me KC found a few great 8 bit pictures fr me to use as stencils. This is where I started....

 The blue one is Megaman and the red (I used only the head) is Protoman. We have no printer ink at the moment so KC hand traced the stencils for me on the pc screen (Thanks Hunny!) and i got to work coloring the fondant.

 The beginnings went well. it was weird to work with things so small but again- trying to challenge myself.
Here's some step by steps as I worked.

There are 3 rows because I was going to do a third Megaman head in a different position but these proved to be almost TOO challenging so I gave up at 2. The Protomen went much better than i expected. I was able to cut them all out with little problem. Then I got to the Megaman one. Yeesh. It literally took me about 3 hours the 1st day, then I put them away for a day and spent about 4 hours the next working on them.

Getting that white center right was the hardest some point in my trials I came up with the guy below who I renamed "MonkeyMan". 

Finally the day before Andy's birthday I worked on them again and finished them all up and got them to a place I lied them at. I cut out some circles for the other cupcakes in matching fondant colors and then I actually had to bake said cupcakes they were going on. 

I made another version of the Cookie Dough Cupcakes from last month...with peanut butter cookies inside instead of chocolate chip. Andy loves peanut butter so I had to make the switch. 

They turned out really well. The only addition to my recipe i would make is pushing the cookie down further in the cupcake so it's more centered, but they came out just great otherwise.

I frosted them with homemade vanilla buttercream frosting and got a little sparkly with some of the circles and then positioned them in a way I liked, ready to be put into a container and taken to the birthday bash.

I will always want to make them more perfect, it's in my nature, but I was really happy with them. They transported great and I got out the god old video camera when we did the reveal....

He loved them! All the hard work was def worth it.....when you get this reaction from something you baked for someone you love- you can't beat it.....

Happy Birthday Andy, we love you lots!