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Olaf Cake (from the movie “Frozen”)

frozen I baked this cake with my best friend for his girlfriend’s birthday. Obviously it was inspired by “Frozen.” Too cute!

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Chocolate Raspberry Smooch Cupcakes

Okay, so in complete honesty, Valentine’s Day doesn’t rank high on my list of favorite holidays. But it gives me an excellent excuse to make deliciously clever cupcakes, so I’m not complaining.

These cupcakes are alcohol-free (sorry to betray the name of my blog!). They were designed and baked with the help of my baking partner-in-crime, Alex David.

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We sort of improvised a lot when we were making these, so there were definitely some moments of crazy panic. But they turned out to be absolutely perfect.

The Cupcakes:
Chocolate cake
Raspberry creme filling
White chocolate Italian meringue buttercream
Raspberry drizzle
Chocolate hearts

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Here it is:

Chocolate cake (yields about 20 cupcakes):
2 1/4 C cake flour (or 2 C all purpose flour, if you don’t have cake flour)
1/3 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/3 C unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 2/3 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs (room temperature)
2/3 C cocoa powder
1 1/3 C cold water

For the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk and sift thoroughly into another bowl. Set aside.
3. Cream sugar, butter, and vanilla in stand mixer or with hand mixer until light and fluffy.
4. Add 3 eggs to creamed butter mixture. Beat thoroughly.
5. In another bowl, combine cocoa powder and water. Whisk until well-mixed.
6. Alternatively add flour mixture and cocoa mixture to creamed butter mixture. Mix well between each addition. Start and end with flour mixture.
7. Line a cupcake or muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
8. Fill cupcake tins with batter (about 2/3 of the way full).
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until middle of cupcake is firm to touch.

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For the raspberry filling:
This is the part we completely made up. I’m not sure on amounts of anything, but basically we did a simple syrup (heat sugar and water together in a saucepan), blended frozen raspberries with heavy cream and raspberry extract, combined them, and beat in powdered sugar. We made it creamy but with a thick consistency so that it wouldn’t seep through the chocolate cake. If you’re feeling adventurous, feel free to replicate this. Or for a safer route, I would recommend just throwing together a raspberry mousse for the filling.

mixing

For the white chocolate buttercream (you’re gonna need a stand mixer or a hand mixer for this!):
1 1/2 C sugar
1/3 C water
150 g egg whites (if you’re using eggs, use the whites from 4 eggs)
1 tsp vanilla
1 lb unsalted butter (room temperature)
6 oz white chocolate

1. Combine sugar and water in saucepan, heat on low until boiling.
2. While sugar mixture is heating, whip egg whites and vanilla with mixer until frothy.
3. In a double boiler or in the microwave, melt white chocolate. If it’s kind of chunky when you melt it, mix in a little melted butter to smoothen it out.
4. Pour boiling sugar mixture into egg whites and vanilla while mixing. (Enlist a friend if you have a hand mixer! 🙂 )
5. Beat on high speed till cool and stiff. This is going to take several minutes, so if you have a hand mixer your arm is probably going to get tired. Just keep on keepin’ on!
6. Once the bowl feels cool, switch the mixer to low speed and add in butter in small chunks.
7. Beat for another few minutes on low until buttercream comes together. It will look like cottage cheese for awhile…this is completely normal and happens just before the buttercream pulls together so don’t panic.
8. Add melted white chocolate and beat on low until well-mixed.

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For the raspberry drizzle:
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C water
a few frozen raspberries
1 tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp raspberry extract
red food coloring

1. Combine sugar and water in saucepan, heat on low until just boiling.
2. Blend together raspberries, heavy cream, and raspberry extract.
3. Mix together sugar and raspberry mixtures.
4. Mix in a few drops of red food coloring.
5. To top cupcakes, we just used a fork and lightly drizzled over the buttercream.

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For the chocolate hearts:
6 oz semisweet chocolate
a little melted butter to smooth out the chocolate (if necessary)

1. In a double boiler or in the microwave, melt chocolate. If it’s kind of chunky when you melt it, mix in a little melted butter to smoothen it out.
2. Pour chocolate into a parchment paper cone, with a small tip at the end for piping.
3. Pipe little hearts onto a tray lined with parchment paper. Get clever with the design!
4. Put tray in freezer until hearts are solid.

And there’s your recipe! These aphrodisiac cupcakes are sure to make your valentine happy, with the perfect flavor combination of chocolate and raspberry.

Love is sweet. Happy cupcake adventures.

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Hot Cocoa Peppermint Schnapps Cupcakes

Hey there and welcome to my blog!

So I know this post is wicked late for the holidays, but these cupcakes turned out to be absolutely FANTASTIC. After messing with the recipe a couple of times, I finally found the perfect combination of ingredients to capture the deliciousness that is one of my favorite holiday drinks, a steaming hot chocolate spiked with a tiny bit of peppermint schnapps.

Holidays can definitely be stressful–having family around, while great for the most part, can quickly turn into a train wreck. So if your family is hindering your ability to get on your holly-jollys, bake these cupcakes. They’re the perfect amount of nice (sugar) with a little bit of naughty (alcohol), so they’re sure to keep your spirits high.

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This photo was captured knee-deep in the snow in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, my hometown and basically the most picturesque place on the face of the planet.

The Cupcakes:
Chocolate cake
Godiva Chocolate Liqueur ganache filling
Peppermint schnapps buttercream
Crushed peppermint

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(Yes, they’re to die for.)

And here it is:

Chocolate cake (yields about 20 cupcakes):
2 1/4 C cake flour (or 2 C all purpose flour, if you don’t have cake flour)
1/3 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/3 C unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 2/3 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs (room temperature)
2/3 C cocoa powder
1 1/3 C cold water

Godiva Chocolate Liqueur ganache filling:
6 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 C heavy cream
4-5 tbsp Godiva Chocolate Liqueur

Peppermint schnapps buttercream:
1 C unsalted butter (room temperature)
6-7 C confectioner’s sugar
3-4 tbsp peppermint schnapps (or until it is minty to your liking)
dash of vanilla extract

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For the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk and sift thoroughly into another bowl. Set aside.
3. Cream sugar, butter, and vanilla in stand mixer or with hand mixer until light and fluffy.
4. Add 3 eggs to creamed butter mixture. Beat thoroughly.
5. In another bowl, combine cocoa powder and water. Whisk until well-mixed.
6. Alternatively add flour mixture and cocoa mixture to creamed butter mixture. Mix well between each addition. Start and end with flour mixture.
7. Line a cupcake or muffin tin with paper cupcake liners (“cupcake pants,” as I like to call them).
8. Fill cupcake tins with batter (about 2/3 of the way full).
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until middle of cupcake is firm to touch.

For the ganache filling:
1. Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat.
2. Melt chocolate over double-boiler on low heat (or in microwave–heat in 10 second intervals, mixing in between, until melted thoroughly).
3. While butter and chocolate are melting, heat heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat.
4. Combine chocolate and butter when melted.
5. When heavy cream begins to boil, mix into chocolate and butter mixture and whisk rigorously until well-combined.
7. Add Godiva Liqueur and mix well.
8. Cover and refrigerate until solid.
9. Once solid, mix with a spoon and you’re ready to fill. (side note on filling cupcakes: I usually cut an inverted cone out of the cupcake. Basically, cut a circle into the top of the cupcake but point towards the center of the cupcake with the knife so that you’re making an upside-down cone. Pull the cone out and cut off the very top circle of it–you’ll put this cake circle back onto the cupcake after filling it).
10. Fill a pastry bag (or, for less advanced bakers, a Ziploc bag with one corner cut off) with the ganache filling, pipe the ganache into the hollowed cupcakes, and replace the top cake circles.

For the peppermint buttercream:
1. Cream butter with mixer.
2. Add all of confectioner’s sugar in 1-2 cup increments, mixing between each addition.
3. Add peppermint schnapps and vanilla extract and mix again, until the flavor is to your liking.
4. If buttercream is not stiff enough, add a small amount of confectioner’s sugar and mix well.
5. Fill a pastry bag (or Ziploc bag) with the buttercream and pipe out a generous amount of frosting in a circular motion.
6. Topped with crushed candy canes or another type of peppermint.

And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen! The decadence of the hot cocoa peppermint schnapps beverage in cupcake form. Snuggle up in your blankets, watch excessive amounts of Netflix, and overindulge in chocolate. If that was an Olympic sport, I’d have the gold.

Enjoy! Peace, love, and cupcakes 🙂

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