Tag Archives: buttercream

Joyeux Anniversaire!

This past week happened to be the Birthday Week of dearest Smidget!

As part of her array of gifts, she was given a classic dessert for her birthday cake as made by Kiwi. Now, I’m not gonna give you the recipe for one simple reason: you should already have it.

Yell and scream all you want. Cry and kick, just please don’t hit the knees, but I’m sure if you go to your cookbook collection you will find that you have the necessary book to make this cake. And if you don’t, get it. Now.

Which classic culinary catalogue did this cake come from? Why, only one of the greatest cookbooks in the world! The one I was able to give to myself as a birthday present! The one that changed the way American women cooked! That’s right: Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck and Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking!

See? Ya have it, don’t cha?

The cake is Reine de Saba avec Glaçage au Chocola, or for those non-French speakers like me, Chocolate and Almond Cake with Chocolate Icing. I will admit, I used the recipe for the cake, but then made up my own Chocolate Buttercream because I wasn’t energized enough to make Julia’s version. Plus I was getting ready to go to the amazing Sullivan’s Steakhouse with my parents for birthday dinner. Best steak ever. 14 oz, dry aged, New York Strip. With a Roasted Red Pepper Truffle butter. I died.

But I had to come back to life for this:

In case you are thinking to yourself “Scruffs (cause, of course, you call yourself Scruffs), I daresay, I do believe I recognize that delectable delicacy” why then you’d be right! If you recall from that delightful movie Julie and Julia, at one point towards the end both of the ladies are making cakes. They show Julia frosting one and then go back to see what’s going on with Julie. Well, Julie brings out the cake to her husband, begins to slice it, and while she gets her cake server he takes his fork and just digs right in. They end up smearing it all over each other.

This is that cake.  Although that did not happen. Proof, you cry? Here. But if I don’t show up tomorrow morning, you’ll know why. Aka, Smidget will have killed me. And I don’t have a cake to come back to life for this time.

So there you have it. A great cake, for a great Smidget!

And it tasted pretty darn good too!

Also, among the other gifts Smidget got was a small canning pot. Ya know, to can things in. So that should be happening soon, which I believe will prompt this conversation in our house:

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One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila, Floor!

While still back in New York for graduation, my dad mentioned to me that we have a bag of powdered sugar here at home that has a hole in it. He said this with a slight smile and mischievous look in his eye as he followed with “we probably should use it up”.

I told him not to worry, that I had a plan up my sleeve, and boy did I. My family has celebrated with margaritas since, well, at least since I was in college if not before. Finally this summer I was able to join my parents in enjoying the celebration outside home when I turned 21. But so far, nothing beats a homemade margarita done by dad. Then again, there are always more to try! If you have a favorite margarita place, let me know!

Upon arriving back at home for a much-needed (and after four years of studying – well deserved) break, I checked out a recipe I had found on FoodGawker for, you guessed it, margarita cupcakes.

We usually use Jose Cuervo for the margaritas, but last summer our bottle ran dry with a batch in the blender, so we decided it was time to break out the big guns. My parents had a bottle of Patron stashed away in the food pantry, so we brought it out of hiding.

Since these cupcakes were in part celebration of graduation, I decided why not use the good stuff? Feel free to use any other kind of tequila if you don’t have an insanely expensive bottle of stuff stashed away that, as I can recall, was given to you as a gift. Be warned, though, that after the first bite of one Smidget’s reaction was “I’m drunk already!” (she was only kinda kidding, the tequila comes through for sure, but not that strongly).

Margarita Cupcakes
Yield: 12 cupcakes
Prep Time: 25 minutes | Bake Time: 25 minutes

For the Cupcakes:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
Zest and juice of 1½ limes
2 tablespoons tequila
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk

To Brush the Cupcakes:
1 to 2 tablespoons tequila

For the Tequila-Lime Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2¾ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons tequila
Pinch of coarse salt

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
3. In an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
4. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the lime zest, lime juice, vanilla extract and tequila. Mix until combined. (The mixture may start to look curdled at this point, but don’t worry, it will all come back together, power on!)
6. Reduce the mixer speed low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix only until just incorporated, using a rubber spatula to give it one last mix by hand.
7. Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until just slightly golden and a skewer shows only moist crumbs attached, rotating the pan at the halfway point.
8. Allow cupcakes to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, and then remove to a cooling rack. Brush the tops of the cupcakes with the 1 to 2 tablespoons of tequila. Set the cupcakes aside to cool completely before frosting them.
9. To make the frosting, whip the butter on medium-high speed of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment for 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low, and gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing and scraping the sides of the bowl until all is incorporated. Give it a mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add the lemon juice, tequila and salt mix on medium-high speed until incorporated and fluffy. If the frosting appears a bit too soft, add some additional sugar, one spoonful at a time until desired consistency is reached. Frost cupcakes and garnish, if desired, with lime zest, and an additional sprinkling of salt.
*Note: If you would prefer to not use liquor in these cupcakes, you can absolutely omit it from both the cupcakes and the frosting with no problem. If you do omit it, I would add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract to the frosting
(Recipe adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride) Taken from Brown Eyed Baker

Sidenote: I had a bit of an issue with frosting these guys, hence the large glob of frosting. I couldn’t find the disposable frosting bags and the nice one I found wasn’t cut right for the tip I tried to use. So I tried to MacGyver a plastic bag, but the tip itself was too small, so I just ended up pulling it out. This resulted in a large corner of the bag being cut off, so I just frosted them as I could. Still tasty!

In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it…

Happy Easter!

Or for those of you, like  myself, who don’t celebrate Easter, Happy Weekend!

I may be a few days late, but there’s  a good reason for it. One of my staff members celebrated his birthday this Easter so in our staff meeting on Monday we celebrated with cupcakes! I had asked him prior what he preferred and all he said was “Chocolate”. I took that and ran, which not only made me out of breath, but also apparently brought confused looks to my staff member’s faces. Kidding, of course, they totally expected it.

I tried the same book again (what can I say, it’s time to start the search for the perfect recipes and ya gotta start somewhere) that I used for the Cookies and Cream Cupcakes. They had a simple recipe for chocolate cupcakes, which unfortunately burned on the bottom a bit. I think it may have resulted from a mixture of a long baking time (25-30 minutes? really?!) and a poorly functioning oven. However, the cupcakes were still the most moist ones I’ve made from scratch. I topped them off with a chocolate buttercream and little chocolate birds nests with Cadbury chocolate eggs.

I put out 16 for a 12 person staff and after an hour they were all gone, which I think bodes well! Try them out and tell me what you think!


Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream and Chocolate Bird’s Nests
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
11.5 oz chocolate chips (one bag) melted and cooled slightly

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 standard muffin cups with paper baking cups.
2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add oil, milk, eggs and vanilla; beat with electric mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until well blended. Stir in melted chocolate until well blended. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling three-fourths full.
3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes (I found I needed less than 22 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

For the frosting:
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
1 and 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
As much chocolate as you want, melted and cooled

1.  Combine cocoa and the boiling water, stirring until cocoa has dissolved.
2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy.
3. Reduce speed to low.
4. Add melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
5. Beat in the cocoa mixture.
6. Let sit at room temperature while the cupcakes cool.
7. Pipe as desired onto cupcakes (I simply spread the frosting on the cupcakes so it worked with the topper).

For the Birds Nest Topper
1 11.5 oz bag of chocolate chips
1 5 oz can of chow mein noodles
1 bag of Cadbury’s Chocolate Mini Eggs

1. Melt chocolate, add chow mein noodles, stir until all noodles are covered in chocolate.
2. Form small birds nests with chocolate chow mein noodles on wax paper or silicone mats.
3. Top with Cadbury Chocolate Mini Eggs.
4. Put in cool place (even the freezer) to set.
5. Remove from wax paper or silicone mats and place on frosted cupcakes.

Cupcakes Adapted from: Favorite Brand Name’s 100 Best Cupcake Recipes; Frosting Adapted from: The Curvy Carrot; Birds Nests adapted from old Girl Scout activity

Also, as a side note, there is now a page on Facebook for From Tundra to Times Square! Like it to be notified about updates and other fun!

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Since I was out of the country for St. Patrick’s Day this year, celebrating was down to a minimum. From what I recall it consisted of a bottle of wine and some friends in our hotel room, instead of finding a place among the winding streets and canals of Venice. A few of my trip-mates did find an Irish Pub, and from what I heard it was a success for about one drink before they headed back to the hotel.

Over the summer I showed Smidget the recipe from Annie’s Eats for Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes and we knew they had to be made. Now, I’d like to think it was a bit of planning ahead, but really we just wanted to try them out.

These cupcakes are amazing, they are moist, rich, and full of great Guinness flavor with just a touch of sweetness from the Bailey’s ganache and frosting. We ended up having so many, and since it was mid-summer everyone was off on vacation, we had no one to share them with! We ended up putting most of them in a large Tupperware container, which also helped them keep their wonderful moisture. The best part, aside from eating them of course, was the smell that came from the container when I went in for a cupcake. Pure chocolatey-Guinness bliss. Just thinking about these cupcakes has me wanting to make them again, and it’s never too late to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, right? 😉

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Yield: 24 cupcakes
Ingredients:
For the Guinness chocolate cupcakes:
1 cup stout (Guinness)
16 tbsp. unsalted butter
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

For the Bailey’s ganache filling:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. Bailey’s Irish cream

For the Bailey’s buttercream frosting:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
4-8 tbsp. Bailey’s Irish cream

Directions:
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.  Combine the stout and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the eggs and sour cream to blend.  Add the stout-butter mixture and beat just to combine.  Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed just until incorporated.  Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3 to ¾ full.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes.  Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the ganache filling, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Heat the cream in a small saucepan until simmering, then pour it over the chocolate.  Let sit for one minute and then whisk until smooth.  If the chocolate is not completely melted, place the bowl over a double boiler or give it a very short burst in the microwave (15-20 seconds).  Add the butter and Bailey’s and stir until combined.

Set aside to let the ganache cool until it is thick enough to be piped.  (You can use the refrigerator to speed the cooling process, but be sure to stir every 10 minutes or so to ensure even cooling.)  Meanwhile, cut out a portion from the center of the cupcake using the cone method (a small paring knife works best for this).  Once the ganache has reached the correct consistency, transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a wide tip and pipe it into the cupcakes.

To make the frosting, place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Gradually add the powdered sugar until it is all incorporated.  Mix in the Bailey’s until smooth.  Add more if necessary until the frosting has reached a good consistency for piping or spreading.  Frost the cupcakes as desired.

Adapted From Annie’s Eats.