Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"Cupcakes Take the Cake" Featured My Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream

I can barely contain my excitement.  My Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream were featured today on Cupcakes Take The Cake.  Click on the link to go to the mention.  It is such an honor to be recognized by the wonderful cupcake loving women of this blog.  Thanks for the shout out!  

Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream

Cream Soda Toffee Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I discovered this recipe last summer and had to make it right away.  I'm fascinated by the use of soda pop in baking recipes and this recipe didn't disappoint.  My sister loves anything toffee, caramel or butterscotch so I knew these would be an instant hit with her.  The original recipe called for using a brown butter frosting but I opted for Cream Cheese instead.  I love the creaminess of the cream cheese frosting with the crunch of the toffee bits.

I'm baking four dozen of these today for a girlfriend to take for a Birthday Celebration tomorrow.  She called to see if I would make cupcakes for her and of course I said yes.  Any excuse to bake cupcakes!  When I asked what flavor she wanted, she said the person celebrating the Birthday loved anything toffee, caramel or butterscotch.  I told her these cupcakes would perfectly fit the bill.  Enjoy and Happy Birthday!

Cream Soda Toffee Cupcakes
from Better Homes and Gardens
Makes 18 cupcakes.

2  cups  all-purpose flour
1-1/2  tsp.  baking powder
1/2  tsp.  baking soda
1/2  cup  butter, softened
3/4  cup  granulated sugar
1/4  cup  packed brown sugar
3    eggs
1  Tbsp.  molasses
1-1/2  tsp.  vanilla
1/2  cup  buttermilk
1/2  cup  cream soda (not diet)
1/2  cup Heath toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line eighteen 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups; set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside.

In large bowl beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high 30 seconds. Add sugars; beat until well combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time, on low until combined. Beat in molasses and vanilla.

Alternately add flour mixture, buttermilk, and cream soda to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until combined. Stir in toffee pieces. Fill cups 3/4 full.

Bake about 18 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool in pans on racks 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 lb. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 lb. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Dash of salt

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment whip the butter and cream cheese for 5 minutes.  Set a timer, do not under beat. Gradually add the powdered sugar to the mixture and scrape down the bowl as needed.  Add the vanilla and salt and mix until combined.  Pipe frosting onto cupcakes using a decorative tip and sprinkle with Heath Toffee Bits.

The frosting can be used right away or stored in the refrigerator up to a week.

As I mentioned, these are my sister's favorite cupcakes, so of course I had to make them for her Birthday last June.  She is a Costume Designer for a local theater, so I topped them with these custom Cupcake Toppers and delivered to her at work.

Monday, September 6, 2010

How to Frost a Cupcake with a Piping Tip

I absolutely love frosting.  All kinds of frosting.  In fact, to me, cupcakes are merely a frosting delivery service.  The more frosting on a cupcake the better in my opinion.  The question I probably get asked the most is,  "How do you get the frosting swirl on your cupcakes and what type of decorating tip do you use?"  It's no big secret.  My favorite piping tip is an Ateco #885.  

Ateco 885 Tip
It's a very large tip that I discovered at NY Cake and Decorating Distributors in New York City.  If you are in NYC and love cake decorating and baking supply stores this is a must stop.  This tip uses a large amount of frosting and gives your cupcakes a beautiful swirl.

Wilton M1 Tip

I also use the Wilton M1 tip.  It's a smaller tip but still gives a nice swirl and a lot of cupcake bakers use this tip.  It's available at most Michael's Craft Stores or any store that carries Wilton cake decorating supplies and tips.  It's also a part of the Wilton Cupcake Decorating Kit available at Walmart.

I always use a 16" decorating bag and large coupler with my tips when I frost cupcakes.  If you have never used a decorating bag don't be afraid to take the leap.  You can handle a lot of frosting in a decorating bag and won't have to continually refill the bag as you frost your cupcakes.  Here's a great little video to show you all you need to know about the various types of piping bags.

I was going to make a little video showing you how I do my frosting swirls but You Tube and the internet is full of videos showing all you need to know.  Jamie over at My Baking Addiction was kind enough to share the following video.

 Cupcake Piping How-To from My Baking Addiction on Vimeo.

Here are two more videos showing how to pipe cupcakes.  One with the M1 tip and the other showing four styles used in England to frost cupcakes.  There are plenty more videos on You Tube if you still want to see more demonstrations.  The best way to learn is by doing.  So grab yourself a piping bag and your favorite decorating tip and start practicing.

Enjoy your frosting!

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Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream

As you may have figured out by now I love anything citrus.  Lemon is absolutely one of my most favorite flavors.  Pair it with raspberries and it's a sure winner.  I found this recipe surfing the web over on the Created by Diane blog.  Lemon, ricotta and raspberries...I knew I had to make these little beauties.  The cupcakes smelled divine while baking.  They are very dense and almost like a biscuit/muffin.  I tasted one right out of the oven and thought these need jam on them.  The raspberry buttercream adds that almost jam like flavor.  The combination of the cupcake and buttercream makes for a winner.

Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes
Created By Diane
Makes 24 cupcakes.

4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar (granulated sugar) place in food processor and make super fine
2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
2 sticks melted butter (cooled)
2 eggs
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tsp lemon extract
juice and zest from about 2 med lemons (4T juice, 2T zest)

Preheat oven 350 set rack in middle of oven

Sift together flour baking powder. Cream eggs and sugar for 2 minutes until pale. Add in melted butter, lemon juice, zest, ricotta, and extracts and finally the flour/baking powder mixture until well mixed on medium. The dough should be smooth and silky. Stop and scrape down the sides then mix on medium for 30 more seconds.

Fill cupcakes 3/4 full and bake 20-25 minutes until tops bounce back when pressed slightly and tester comes out clean. Cool in pans 5 min. Then remove to cooling rack.

Raspberry Buttercream

1 cup butter 
1 cup shortening
4-6 cups powdered sugar 
4T milk (if necessary)
1 cup raspberry pie filling (puree so it’s smooth before adding)
1 tsp Raspberry Extract
Dash of Salt

Cream butter and shortening together for 5 minutes.  Add Raspberry Pie Filling, Raspberry Extract and Salt. Gradually add powdered sugar and milk until you reach your desired piping consistency.

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