Tag Archives: Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes with Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes with Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting

Yeah, so last week. I mean, doesn’t the presence of Thanksgiving alone provide enough craziness? But oh no, the universe apparently decided that I needed so much more. The week began with a water main break in my city, and our water was off for two days. When it (weakly!) returned, it came with a boil notice that city officials probably lifted a tad too soon, because I got very sick on Thursday!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting

So in all the mayhem, I ended up neglecting the blog. I totally meant to share this superlative little dessert last week – pre-Thanksgiving, when it’s still socially acceptable to blog pumpkin desserts, but this recipe is so spectacular that it simply can’t wait another year. A small food blogging faux pas will likely be forgiven once you taste these.

I actually made these cupcakes mostly on a whim. A couple years ago I made and blogged a pumpkin cupcake with chocolate cream cheese frosting, which were quite lovely; so this year I impulsively decided to reverse the cupcakes and see if a chocolate cupcake with pumpkin buttercream worked just as well.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting

Possibly even better, I must say! I’ve made this three times in the past week, to overwhelming raves each time. The cupcakes are chocolate-y and tender and soft, with a not-too-sweet and earthy frosting capping them off. So delicious, and I personally think it’s still an acceptable time of year to enjoy these.

A note about the frosting. The first time I made them, I piped on the frosting with a plain pastry bag tip (not the star tip), and two problems emerged. One, they were over-frosted in the sense that I ran out on cupcake #19 (of 24), and two, the frosting looked like the poop emoji. So I used a small spatula to smooth it out and it looked much nicer. When I made it again, I skipped the pastry bag and had plenty of frosting for all 24 cupcakes. If you want the frosting piled high on all 24 cupcakes, I’d increase the recipe by 1 ½.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting

Source: cupcakes from Homemade with Love by Jennifer Perillo; frosting from In Jennie’s Kitchen


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup cocoa powder
2 large eggs
2/3 cup canola oil
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk

2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
½ tsp ground cinnamon, plus a little extra for garnish, if desired
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar

First make the CUPCAKES: preheat your oven to 350 F. Line 2 (12 cup) muffin tins with liners and set aside.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa in a medium bowl. Add the egg, oil, and sugar to a large bowl and whisk briskly until thick and creamy, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in the vanilla and milk. Add the dry ingredients, and whisk until just combined.
Evenly spoon the batter into the prepared tins. Bake until a metal skewer or cake tester comes out clean, 15 to 17 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 2 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack and cool completely before frosting them.
When the cupcakes have cooled, make the FROSTING: place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Using a hand or stand mixer, beat until airy and creamy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin, cinnamon, and vanilla extract; beat until well combined.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly sprinkle in one third of the sugar. Beat until well combined. Stop the mixer, and scrape down the sides. Repeat with the remaining sugar. Once all of the sugar has been added, beat the frosting on high speed for 2 minutes.
Frost the cooled cupcakes, and if desired, sprinkle each cupcake with a tad bit of ground cinnamon.

Nocello-Spiked Carrot Cupcakes

Nocello-spiked Carrot Cupcakes

Welcome to …. CARROT WEEK!! Last week’s theme featured asparagus, so I thought I would continue on the spring produce path with Bugs Bunny’s ever-so-versatile favorite.

When pondering what I should do with carrots, it occurred to me that in all this time, I have yet to blog a recipe for any kind of carrot cake. I felt I should correct that.

Nocello-Spiked Carrot Cupcakes

Carrot cake comes in many, many forms (layer cake, sheet cake, bundt cake, cupcakes…) and there are about as many versions as there are bakers of carrot cakes. Some have raisins, some have pineapple, some have nuts, some do not, and the ones that do have nuts cannot agree on which type of nut should be in there. Should it be walnuts, or almonds, or pistachios, or hazelnuts, or pecans? Although come to think of it, I did not see any carrot cake recipes containing peanuts…

Nocello-Spiked Carrot Cupcakes

Anyways. I wanted to keep the carrot part rather pure, so I opted for no raisins or pineapple; and then I came across a recipe for boozy carrot cupcakes, and well, I looked no further. Nocello is walnut liqueur, and since walnuts and carrots are good friends, it’s a perfect addition. It’s also pretty good on the rocks. Just FYI.

You could certainly make this without the liqueur if you don’t want to buy a bottle, but it’s really, really good with the alcohol, and I’ve given you an idea of what to do with the rest of the bottle, so just sayin’… Enjoy this one, y’all!

nocello-spiked carrot cupcakes

Source: The Boozy Baker by Lucy Baker

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup canola oil
¼ cup walnut liqueur, such as Nocello
3 large eggs
3 cups peeled and grated carrots, about 1 lb. whole carrots
¾ cup chopped walnuts

1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 to 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tbs walnut liqueur

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 standard 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners; or grease with cooking spray. Set aside.
Make the cupcakes: whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, canola oil, and walnut liqueur. Whisk in the eggs, 1 at a time. Add the flour mixture and whisk until mostly blended. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold the rest of the flour mixture in. now fold in the carrots and walnuts.
Using a greased ice cream scoop, fill the muffin tins with the batter, filling each tin about three-fourths full. Bake the cupcakes until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes. Then remove them to a wire rack and let cool completely.
When the cupcakes have cooled, make the frosting. Place the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer about 2 minutes, until very fluffy. Add 1 cup confectioners’ sugar plus the salt and continue to beat until smooth. Taste, and add up to 1 cup more sugar as desired, being sure to beat until smooth. Add the walnut liqueur and beat until incorporated. Spread the frosting over the cooled cupcakes.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

pumpkin cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting

So if you’ll recall, yesterday I mentioned being extremely excited for the much-anticipated Baylor/OU game? Well. My friends, it did not disappoint. My Bears blew away the OU Sooners! It was utterly fantastic. My pizzas, on the other hand – not so much. Oh well…

making pumpkin cupcakes

pumpkin cupcakes before baking

And now we should talk pumpkin cupcakes. Because you should make these cupcakes, very soon. They are unbelievably moist, earthy, warm and comforting. Pairing them with chocolate frosting was the right thing to do. Even better, the frosting used cream cheese and sour cream, which of course made it deliciously tangy, a tanginess that served as a perfect counterbalance to the earthy pumpkin flavor. So great!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

My original plan was to make mini cupcakes. However, I only have one mini cupcake pan (for 24 minis), yet there is enough batter for 48 mini cupcakes, thus requiring me to make the two batches separately. Someone, meaning myself, did not have time to make two separate batches on the particular day I made these, so I grabbed one of my standard, 12-cup muffin tins and filled it with the remaining batter. This recipe works beautifully for both regulars and minis, I’m happy to report. Try it either way and enjoy!

pumpkin chocolate mini cupcakes

pumpkin chocolate frosted cupcake, eaten

{One year ago: Chocolate Meringue Pie}

Sources: Cupcakes adapted from Smitten Kitchen; Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting adapted from Weeknights with Giada by Giada de Laurentiis

1 stick (8 tbs) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup sour cream
Mini chocolate chips, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 standard or mini cupcake pans with the appropriate liners.
In a stand mixer, beat the butter and both sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl.
Add the eggs 1 at a time to the mixer, scraping down the sides after each addition. Alternate adding the flour and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Add the vanilla extract and the pumpkin puree. Beat until just combined.
Scoop the batter among the cupcake liners, about 3/4 full. Rap the filled pans once on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 18 to 20 minutes for the standard cupcakes and 12 to 14 minutes for the minis. Cool the cupcakes on racks completely.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. To a medium bowl, add the confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese, butter, cocoa powder, and sour cream. Using an electric mixer, beat on low speed until smooth. Increase the speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
When the cupcakes are completely cooled, use a butter knife or small offset spatula to spread a generous amount of frosting on each cupcake. Sprinkle a few mini chocolate chips on top of each cupcake.

What is the Difference Between White Cake and Yellow Cake?


Not that I’ve run the statistics or anything, but I would hazard a guess that this question is one of the more frequently asked by home cooks and bakers, especially those who use boxed cake mixes. And while I love baking from scratch and don’t use them, I have often wondered this myself. What is the difference between white cake and yellow cake? I decided to find out.

{White Cake}

Well, not to sound too obvious, but first there’s the color of the cake. White cake really is white, and yellow cake really does have a yellowish hue. But I’m pretty sure they were created then named for their appearance. So the question really becomes, what makes the white cake white and what makes the yellow cake yellow.

{Yellow Cake}

And the answer is eggs. White cake has only egg whites while yellow cake contains whole eggs, and it’s the yolks that give the cake its yellow tint.


Beyond that, other differences include:
* White cake is made with cake flour, whereas yellow cake uses all-purpose flour.
* White cake has a very light, almost sponge cake-like texture, whereas yellow cake has a moister and denser texture.
* White cake has a very thin, liquidy batter while yellow cake has a thicker batter.
* Yellow cake is more prevalent and tasted more familiar – most standard cakes are yellow cakes. Wedding cakes are frequently white cakes though.
And that’s pretty much it! The flavor between the two was quite similar, the differences were mainly color and texture.

You’re probably noticing that my white cupcakes browned on the top and don’t look too white. I don’t know why. They certainly weren’t overcooked, the texture was wonderful. It really bugged me, but then I frosted them and it didn’t matter anyway. At least that’s how I will choose to see it. 🙂


White Cupcakes — Can You Stay for Dinner?
Yellow Cupcakes — adapted from Simply Scratch
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting — The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila

1 cup cake flour
½ cup whole milk, at room temperature
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
5 tbs unsalted butter, softened but still cool

1-1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 whole eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup half and half
1 tsp real vanilla extract

1 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup (1 1/2) sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbs vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup standard size cupcake tin with paper liners. Spritz each with nonstick cooking spray.
Lightly whisk milk, egg whites, and vanilla extract in large glass measuring cup.
Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand electric mixer and add butter; beating at low speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no large clumps of flour.
Add 3/4 of the milk mixture to the crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for 20 seconds longer at low speed.
Evenly distribute the batter in the cupcake tin. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove the cupcakes from the pan carefully and let them cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
Makes 12 standard cupcakes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a standard 12 muffin pan with liners.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
In a medium bowl use an electric mixer to blend together the stick of butter and the 3/4 cup of sugar for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add one egg in at a time and blend well after each one.
Next add in half of the dry ingredients, blend. Then half of the half and half, blend. Then repeat with the rest of the dry ingredients and half and half, mix until incorporated.
Add in the vanilla extract and blend to combine.
Divide the batter among the twelve cupcake liners and bake in a preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. Once baked, remove and let cool completely before frosting.
Makes 12 standard cupcakes.

Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and blend until combined. Add the powdered sugar in 1/4 cup increments until combined.
Add the salt and vanilla and continue beating until frosting is thick and smooth.
Spread or pipe onto the cupcakes.
This will make enough frosting for all 24 cupcakes.

Apple Pecan Cheesecake Cupcakes

Believe it or not, these scrumptious little items were not part of my quest to use up a bushel and a half of apples from the Catskills.  They came about as a way to attempt to use up some beautiful Vermont apple butter sitting in the fridge.

Matt and I really enjoyed these, and they immediately evaporated when his coworkers got ahold of them.  They aren’t no-bake, but we’ll call them only-a-little-bake, because they only require a little bit of baking – just the graham cracker crust.  Then they require a little bit of work on the stovetop to cook the apples.  But, they are easy to pull off.

And so much fun to eat!  I mean, how often do you get to eat cheesecake with your hands?  I know there are cheesecake bars out there, which are awesome, but those typically require a fork.  These do not! Thanks to the cupcake wrapper you can eat them completely utensil-free.

They may not scream Thanksgiving, but they do exuberantly shout fall, and I think it’s still fall.  And by posting this recipe at this time of year, I am informing the weather that yes, it is still fall.  That means that six inches of snow is inappropriate and jumping the gun, so please don’t do that again until at least the beginning of January. Okay? Thanks!

I made only one change to the original, which was to sub pecans for walnuts, 1) because I had pecans on hand and did not have any walnuts, and 2) because being from Texas (aka growing up in the land of pecans) dies hard, and I’ll always love pecans better than any other nut.  But if walnuts are more your thing, feel free to use them instead. You could also sub in whole, peeled almonds for a tasty twist.

Source: Slightly adapted from Shutterbean


1 1/4 cups graham crackers (from about 10 cookies)
1/3 cup chopped pecan halves
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 package 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup cold heavy cream
1/2 cup apple butter

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 apple, peeled & chopped
1/3 cup chopped pecan halves
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch salt


Preheat oven to 375 F.
Line 10 standard muffin cups with cupcake liners. In a food processor, pulse together the graham crackers, pecans, sugar, salt, cinnamon and butter until combined. Divide crumb mixture among cupcake liners, firmly pressing into bottoms and up the sides. I used a shot glass to help with this. Bake until crusts are browned and fragrant, about 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely in a pan on a wire rack at room temperature.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on high until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the confectioner’s sugar, apple butter, and vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
In another medium bowl, with clean beaters, beat the heavy cream on high until stiff peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes. Gently fold the whipped cream into the apple butter cream cheese mixture a little at a time. Divide mixture among the cooled crusts and refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour.

While the cheesecakes are chilling, make the apple topping. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Add the apple, pecans, sugar & cinnamon and cook, stirring occasionally until apples are just soft, about 4-5 minutes. Finish with a pinch of salt and let topping cool. When ready to serve, place a tablespoon of the apple walnut topping on each mini cheesecake. Cheesecakes will last up to three days in the refrigerator, if you and those with whom you live can restrain yourselves from eating them, anyway.

Apple Cider Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s another day in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  The streets in our neighborhood are still a horrid mess, but the recovery process has begun in earnest.  It’s very exciting that some public transportation is going to up and running by tomorrow morning, as it is operational a few days earlier than predicted.  Matt and I still cannot do much in the way of work, but we did get out for lunch today.

Our neighboring town has a strip of various shops and restaurants; it was nice to walk around, grab a tasty meal of Cuban cuisine, and engage in a little retail therapy.  We saw many little kids decked out in their Halloween costumes, trick-or-treating around the commercial establishments.  Thanks to Sandy, many residential streets around the city aren’t safe to walk in the dark, so businesses participated in the Halloween tradition.  Kids in costume walked up to cashiers, yelled “Trick or Treat!” and their plastic pumpkins were rewarded with various candies.  It was really sweet and heartening, that a neighborhood would band together after a devastating natural disaster to ensure kids still had a fun and proper Halloween.  Made me a very proud New Yorker.

These turned out delicious – a perfect treat for fall.  I do feel slightly guilty for using a boxed cake mix, as I try to always bake from scratch.  In cleaning out my pantry recently, I found a box of yellow cake mix that had been in there for God knows how long.  And even though I’m a big proponent of cooking real food from scratch, I still hated the idea of throwing it out.  So I used it for these cupcakes, with apologies.  No matter, everyone loved them.  I hope you can enjoy these before fall comes to a close.

Source: Look and Cook, by Rachael Ray

1 box yellow cake mix, plus required ingredients
Apple cider
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Regular sized cupcake/muffin liners

Mix the cake batter according to package directions, except swap whatever liquid called for with an equal amount of apple cider. Line two (12 count) muffin tins with the liners. Use an ice cream scoop to fill the liners evenly with the batter. Bake according to package directions. Let cool in the muffin tin for about five minutes, then transfer them to cooling racks and let them cool completely.
Make the frosting: in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. With the mixer on medium-low, gradually add the powdered sugar. Once combined, add the vanilla and cinnamon and mix until smooth and creamy.
Fill a pastry bag with whatever tip you choose (or fill a plastic food storage back and snip off the corner tip) with the frosting about halfway. Twist the end, then pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.
Note: I went a little overboard in piping on the frosting, and ran out before I got to the last two or three cakes. So please be mindful of that!