#16 Vanilla Halloween Cupcakes

Happy Halloween!!
Looks like we have spiderman in the house!!

For our Halloween cupcakes I went with a vanilla cupcake and dyed the batter black and orange. I learned from this experience to stick with lighter colors because black takes over everything. Plus it took a lot of dye to get it to a true black. Same with the frosting. I noticed after a few hours the colors started to bleed and it ended up a big black mess.  Oh well Aidan had fun decorating and that's all that counts!

Vanilla Cupcakes (curetsy of Martha Stewart)
Probably one of the best vanilla cupcakes I've had yet! Whole milk really makes a difference too.

The Goods
1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
**Optional Gel Food Coloring

The How To
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined.

This recipe had me doing this a little different... usually I cream the butter and sugar together first.

Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat.

my butter wasn't completely at room temp so I had chunks of butter through out the batter.

Evenly separate the batter between two bowls. Add gel food coloring. Make sure it's mixed in completely or you'll have streaks.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full.

I layered the colors but towards the end I had mostly black cupcakes because of my lack of measuring skills.
Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.

Each cupcake is unique and different
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

They looked pretty cool on the inside

Billy's Vanilla Buttercream Frosting(courtesy of food.com)
This is some pretty good frosting. I added about 2 more cups of sugar and an extra teaspoon of vanilla.

The Goods
cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 to 8 cups confectioners' sugar (I used about 10cups of sugar)
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (used 2teaspoons of vanilla)
Sprinkles and/or Candy for decorating
Gel Food coloring

The How To
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add 6 cups sugar, milk, and vanilla; mix until light and fluffy. If necessary, gradually add remaining 2 cups sugar to reach desired consistency. Seperate the frosting into two bowls and add color. FYI it took ALOT to get the frosting black, it started off purple then finally (practicly half a jar later) it turned a dark purple/black color.

This will definetly turn your mouth some interesting colors!

My attempt at layering the colors. Towards the end the cupcakes were mostly black due to my lack of measuring skills.

Don't forget to decorate!!

Aidan's art work

He dumped enough sugar on these to sink a battle ship!
These are the ones I decorated for work. I added my vampire mix M&M's that I picked up in Vegas at M&M world

Up Next...
Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes


#15 Peanut Butter Cookie Cupcakes

Do you ever just get the urge to bake? Well I did the other night and as I was flipping through my cookbook, the sound of these cupcakes hit the spot. Anything based on a cookie ought to be good. So peanut butter it is! The first batch of these I followed the recipe without adding anything extra and they definitely reminded me of cookies. But all I can think about when I was making these was chocolate! So the second batch I added Reese's to them and probley twice as much peanut butter and to me, they were heavenly! This is one of those cupcakes where your going to like it as is or your going to think it needs more of something. I guess it depends on your peanut butter preference.

Peanut Butter Cookie Cupcakes (courtesy of Martha Stewart)
Supposedly this makes 30 cupcakes but both times I was lucky to get 24...

The Goods
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter (the second batch I used the all natural creamy and I found it had less flavor then the Skippy I used in first batch and I used twice as much peanut butter!)
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
**Optional bag of Reese peanut butter cups

The How To

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 3 standard 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.
Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl.

whisked and ready to go!

Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy.

 Reduce speed to low. Mix in peanut butter. Mix in eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla.

 Add flour mixture; mix until combined. Mix in sour cream.

Spoon scant 3 tablespoons batter into each muffin cup.

the original
upgraded with surprise in the middle

Bake until pale golden and a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 13 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool completely.

not bad...
Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
This frosting is great, but if I was to do this again I would use a butter cream based frosting.
The Goods
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, plus more for decorating
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter

The How To

Put cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and butter into the clean bowl of a mixer fitted with the clean paddle attachment; mix on medium- high speed until pale and fluffy. Stir in peanut butter with a rubber spatula.
Peanut buttery perfection!!!
Up Next....
Tie Dyed Halloween Cupcakes 


#14 Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes

To wrap up my little squash segment I thought something with my favorite ingredient-chocolate would be the perfect ending. I came across this recipe back in August and I've been waiting patiently to give it a try. When the cupcakes were baking, the smell reminded me of those crackable  milk chocolate orange balls. Yummy right? So here's the recipe, give it a try and let me know what you think.

Couldn't pass up sharing this picture!

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes (courtesy of cupcake project)

The Goods
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (I ended up adding a little left over butternut squash too)
2 large eggs room temp
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

The How To
Whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, and salt.

the dry ingredients are on the left :)
In a large bowl, combine the sugar, pumpkin, and eggs. Beat until smooth.

Mix in the oil, orange juice, and melted chocolate.

Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until fully incorporated.

Mix in the chocolate chips.
Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.

Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before frosting.

Next time I'll fill the liners a little fuller

It's amazing how different the flavor tastes after the cupcake is fully cooled. I thought the orange was very prominent when warm then after it had time too cool it was more of a complementing flavor to the chocolate and pumpkin.

Pumpkin Pie Frosting(courtesy of cupcake project)
This is the best find ever! This is nothing but pumpkin pie, no extra butter or powdered sugar needed. I could seriously eat this on everything!

The Goods
Store bought or homemade pumpkin pie ( I used the recipe off the back of the Libby's can but with no crust)

The How To
Buy or make a pumpkin pie.
This was actually the second try at the pie. My first attempt had too much pumpkin and not enough spice. But I figured it out the second time around.

Move pie to a mixing bowl and mix for 30 secs so it's more of a frosting texture to it. Then decorate with a piping bag or with a knife.
love my pumpkin liners!
Up Next....
Peanut Butter Cookie Cupcakes


#13 Pumpkin Butter Cupcakes

Finally pumpkin time is here! Time for pumpkin pie, butter, puree and of course cupcakes! I have a few recipes in mind, but I wanted to start out with a basic spiced pumpkin cupcake first. So I went with Pumpkin Patch cupcake by Martha Stewart. Unfortunately I found that the cupcakes tasted nothing like pumpkin. Don't get me wrong they were still good, but I was really disappointed. Not sure if it was my pumpkin puree (the how to is below) that I made or not enough spices, but there was no pumpkin presence to be found. Since I was already making pumpkin butter I thought it would be a great idea to stuff the centers with a little butter goodness. So here's my take on Martha's recipe.

Before I even set eyes on the cupcake recipe I knew I wanted to use my own Pumpkin Puree(courtesy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks)

The Goods
2 whole Sugar Pumpkins unless you want more.....
The How To
Cut the pumpkins in half. With a  spoon or a scoop, scrape out the seeds and pulp from the center.

Place all the seeds in a bowl unless you don't want them... They were amazing with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Repeat until all the pumpkin pieces are largely free of seeds and pulp.

Place pumpkin pieces on a baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees for 45mins or until pumpkin is fork-tender. They should be nice and golden brown when done.

Peel off the skin from the pumpkin pieces until you have a big pile of stuff. If you have a food processor, throw in a few chunks at a time. A blender will work too, just add a little water. Or you can mash it up with a potato masher.
bullet was perfect for this job!!
Pulse the pumpkin until smooth. If it looks to dry, add in a few tablespoons of water during the pulsing to give it the needed moisture. Looks just like baby food. If the puree is overly watery, you should strain it over a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer.

 Dump into a bowl, and continue pureeing until all the pumpkin is done. You can freeze it or use immediately.
no straining needed here
I used it immediately in the following pumpkin butter recipe and cupcakes.

Pumpkin Butter(courtesy of grouprecipes.com)
This is what was used for the center of the cupcakes

The Goods
8cups  pumpkin puree
2cups  brown sugar

1 1/2   teaspoons  cinnamon
1teaspoon  ground ginger

1/2teaspoon ground cloves
1/4teaspoon  ground nutmeg
4 lemons-needed for the juice

The How To
This is the hard part!!! ha ha just kidding :)
Place all ingredients in slow cooker; cook on low for approximately 5 hours. Pour into small jars, refrigerate or freeze.
I mixed up the stuff before putting it in the crock pot

Turned out perfect!!! You've got to give this a try.
 Now on with the cupcakes!!!

Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes(Courtesy of Martha Stewart)
If you don't have her cupcake book I highly recommend it!!

The Goods
4cups cake flour(not self-rising) sifted
1teaspoon baking soda
1tablespoon plus 1teaspoon baking powder
1teaspoon salt
2teaspoons ground cinnamon(more the merrier! You can never have too much of this!)
1tablespoon ground ginger
1teaspoon grated nutmeg (it says to use fresh but I used the stuff in a jar-I know I'm a big time slacker)
1/4teaspoon ground cloves
1cup unsalted butter at room temp
2 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
4lg eggs
1cup buttermilk (I substituted sour cream)
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree-not pie filling! (this is where i used my puree came in handy)

The How To
Preheat oven to 350degrees. Sift together dry ingredients.
My dry ingredients and my puree
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
Reduce speed to low.  Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of sour cream(or buttermilk), and beating until just combined. I also added butterscotch chips too at this point.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full.

Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown. 15-18mins.

Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10mins; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be refrigerated up to 3days in airtight containers.

After cupcakes have cooled down start drilling out the middle of the cupcakes save the top part for later.

I see my butterscotch!
Spoon in the pumpkin butter until the hole is full to your liking.

Cover up the pumpkin butter with the part you drilled out.

For the frosting I decided to mix it up a bit and made the Cream cheese frosting orange and white.

The Goods
1cup unsalted butter room temp
12oz cream cheese room temp
4cups powdered sugar sifted
1/4teaspoon vanilla extract

The How To
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy, 2-3mins. Reduce speed to low and slowly add sugar 1/2cup at a time. Then add vanilla and mix until smooth and combined, scraping down the bowl as needed. If you want to color the frosting then split the frosting evenly among two bowls. I added the orange to one and leave the other white. Try to stack or layer the frosting on top of each other in the frosting bag.

You can see where i started and then they gradually got a little orangery as I went.
I couldn't pass up the Halloween umbrellas!!
Look at all that pumpkin butter goodness!!
Up Next...
Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes