Sunday, November 15, 2009

better late than never!

So here is at least a quick update for the recipes I used for the November Life Teen cupcakes and also a quick tutorial on how to decorate the October cupcakes.

Let's start with the recipes....

Egg Nog cupcakes adapted from here

I found these cupcakes to be a big hit with the adults especially. I also wonder if they had too much sugar in them as they had a crisp and chewy crust to them, but like I said they were still a hit.


For the cupcakes:

1 cup eggnog

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

1 cup sugar

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

For the frosting:

¼ cup butter, softened

3 tbsp. eggnog

generous pinch of nutmeg and cinnomon

2 (or more) cups confectioners’ sugar


Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. In a small bowl, mix together the rum, eggnog, vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract. In a large bowl, mix together the nutmeg, sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Divide evenly between prepared muffin wells.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cakes spring back when lightly pressed. Cool in the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, cream together the butter, eggnog, rum, nutmeg and confectioners’ sugar. Add in more confectioners’ sugar if needed to make the frosting stiff, but spreadable. Frost the cooled cupcakes.

Apple Cider Cupcakes adapted from here

---there is a orchard and market named Atkins Farms in the area where Chris comes from...they make Apple Cider doughnuts all year long! These doughnuts are amazingly yummy and a special treat when we go to visit Chris's family. My goal with these cupcakes was to replicate those doughnuts, while they are not an Atkins cider doughnut it is close, but not "really" close as my wonderful husband agreed to.

* 2 C all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 t baking powder
* 1 1/2 t baking soda
* 1/2 t salt
* 2 t ground cinnamon
* 1/2 t grated nutmeg
* 1 large egg, lightly beaten
* 2/3 C packed brown sugar
* 1/2 C apple butter
* 1/3 C pure maple syrup
* 1/3 C apple cider
* 1/3 C plain yogurt
* 3 tbsp hazelnut oil, plus extra for coating the pan (If hazelnut oil is not available, you can substitute with macadamia nut oil or vegetable oil.)
* approximately 3 tbsp sugar for baking pans

1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; set aside.
2. In another bowl, whisk together egg, brown sugar, apple butter, maple syrup, cider, yogurt and hazelnut oil.
3. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until moistened.
4. Brush cupcake liners with oil and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. (This is a really important step as it adds a lot of flavor and crispness to the cupcakes helping with the doughnut feel.
5. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full.
6. Bake at 375 F for 10 to 15 minutes (doughnuts) or 20 minutes (cupcakes) or until the tops spring back when touched lightly.

Honey Glaze and Cinnamon/Sugar Topping

I topped each apple cider cupcake with a honey glaze and then topped with cinnamon and sugar. For the honey glaze, simply combine and microwave two parts honey to every one part apple cider (i.e. 4 T honey and 2 T apple cider) until hot.

Chai Tea Cupcakes
These Chai Tea cupcakes are a variation of my own, and better I think. I was unable to find the same brand of Chai tea mix as in my first post and I used a recipe from scratch rather than a box so here is the new recipe. I started with this recipe, then I added some chai to it!

o 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
o 11⁄2 cups sugar
o 1 Tbsp baking powder
o 1⁄2 tsp salt
o 4 large eggs
o 1 cup milk
o 2 tsp vanilla extract
o 2⅔ cups all-purpose flour
o 2-4 cups of any instant Chai tea mix (this will look like a hot cocoa mix)

Heat oven to 350ºF. Place cupcake liners into the pans

Beat butter, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl with mixer on high speed 1 minute or until well blended. Add eggs; beat 2 minutes or until fluffy. Reduce speed to low and beat in milk and vanilla (batter may look curdled), then beat in flour just until blended.

In a coffee cup heat 2 TBS of water in the microwave until hot, add in the Chai tea mix until you have a mixture with the texture of dough (really we want to release the Chai flavor by adding a tiny bit of water, but we don't want it too liquid or it may mess with the batter. I needed a plain vanilla cupcake for a kiddo who is HIGHLY allergic to peanuts so I didn't add the Chai tea until after I had taken out the batter for her cupcake. I would think you could also add the Chai in before the flour than a more liquid mix would be less likely to mess with the batter.)

Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full ( a handy trick is to use an ice cream scoop) and bake for 15-20 or until a toothpick comes out with a crumb or two sticking to it. Let cool and frost.

Chai Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp
4 cups powder sugar
2-4 cups instant Chai mix
2 TBS Vanilla extract

Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add in powder sugar until frosting is thick. Heat 1 TBS of water in the microwave until hot and add Chai mix until a thick syrup is formed. Add vanilla extract and the Chai to the butter and sugar, mix well. Add more powder sugar or Chai until the desired texture is reached.

I find that I'm always messing with my frosting and a recipe is just a starting point, so if the EXACT recipe is too strong or not strong enough just add more or less Chai. You can also add the Chai powder directly to the frosting without adding it to water, this can make the frosting a bit crunchy as there is regular sugar and dry milk in the mix, but it also seems to give a stronger flavor.

Hot Cocoa cupcakes
I started with this recipe and went from there!

Ingredients (only 12 cupcakes with this recipe so double if you need 24 cupcakes)

* 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa (sifted)
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
* 1 cup milk or half-and-half cream
* 1 egg, slightly beaten
* 1/3 cup salad oil (use Canola or vegetable oil)
* 1 teaspoon vanilla (can use 2 teaspoons)
* 1 bag milk chocolate chips ( or 12 dove Chocolates or something similar)
* 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)


1. Set oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line 12 regular size muffin tin with paper liners.
3. In a medium-size mixing bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, sifted baking cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon (if using); mix with a wooden spoon to combine.
4. In a two-cup measuring cup or bowl whisk together the milk, egg, oil and vanilla.
5. Add the milk/egg mixture to the dry ingredients; mix very well with a wooden spoon to combine well.
6. Mix in the chocolate chips and nuts (if using).
7. Divide the batter evenly between the lined muffin tins.
8. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (don't overbake!).

9. Cool, and spread a thin layer of marshmallow cream on top, cover the marshmallow cream with mini marshmallows and add a Pocky stick for a cool "straw."

That just leaves the October cupcakes...and as far as the recipes I'll need to do some digging, it wasn't so much about the taste as the decorating with these, except the pumpkin one. I'll also add pictures when AOL starts cooperating with me!


I used my recipe for WASC Although I usually halve the recipe for only 24 cupcakes
White Almond Sour Cream Cake (WASC)

* 2 boxes white cake mix
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teas. salt
8 egg whites
2 2/3 cups water
4 Tbls. vegetable oil
2 cups (16oz carton) sour cream
2 teaspoon clear vanilla flavor
2 teaspoons almond extract


Mix all dry ingredients by hand using a whisk in a very large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat on low speed for 2 minutes. Bake at 325 degrees

Then use the frosting recipe from Martha's Hi-Hats with a little change

# 1 3/4 cups sugar
# 3 large egg whites
# 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
# 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
# 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 package white Almond bark

# Prepare the frosting: In a large heatproof bowl, combine sugar, 1/4 cup water, egg whites, and cream of tartar. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat on high speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Set bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Beat on high speed until frosting forms stiff peaks, about 12 minutes; frosting should register 160 degrees.on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and almond extracts, and beat for 2 minutes more until frosting thickens.
# Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain pastry tip. Leaving a 1/8-inch border on each cupcake, pipe a spiral of frosting into a 2-inch-high cone shape, using about 1/2 cup of frosting per cupcake. (try to have a more rounded top than a sharp point) Transfer cupcakes to a baking sheet, and refrigerate while preparing the chocolate coating.
# Prepare the almond bark coating: melt the white almond bark in the microwave, mixing often.
# Holding each cupcake by its bottom, dip cupcake in the almond bark to coat frosting, allowing excess to drip off. Transfer to a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack. Spoon more coating around edge of cupcake and any exposed frosting; none of the frosting should show. Let cupcakes stand at room temperature 15 minutes.


Roll out fondant until 1/8 inch thick.

cut out a large circle for every cupcake using whatever you may have (I cut the rim off a sour cream tub so it was a sharp edge rather than the dull one.)

Give every circle another go with the rolling pin until it is as thin as you are comfortable with or the fondant will cover the frosting but not touch the table when placed on top (it doesn't need to be a perfect circle, in fact I think it adds more to it when it is not.)

Place the fondant circles on top of the almond bark covered hi-hat frosting.

Use a food pen or frosting or melted chocolate to draw faces on your ghost.


Add pumpkin and nutmeg to your'll thank me for this one!
Add Orange food gel to get the nice bright orange color.
Frost cooled cupcakes and score with a knife to make the lines of the pumpkins. (This is very subtle, but really makes all the difference in the final look of your cupcake.)
Make stems out of fondant (roll out a piece and bend it like an 'L', place in the cupcakes upside down.)
Add vines with very thick green frosting (just add some powdered sugar and green food coloring to 1/2 cup of shorting until you get the right color and very thick frosting-this is what allows it to stand up in a curvy parts)


For my witches hats I bakes cupcakes inside a sugar cone (the ones that are pointy.) This did not go over so well with some of the teens so if you aren't a fan of the crunchy cone you can check out what Martha suggests in her Christmas Tree cupcakes.  After you have your cone shaped cupcake (in the cone or out) attach it to a sugar cookie with your favorite frosting.  Dip the whole thing in dark chocolate with added black food gel.  Cut thin strips of fondant of your desired color to make a hat band.  You can also affix a small decoration.  I found these adorable little pumpkins at Wally World (aka Wal-Mart).


Print out a picture of a simple spider web that is about the size of a cupcake. (My wonderful Hubby did this for me, putting 6 webs on a sheet of paper) Cover the paper with wax or parchment paper.  Melt white almond bark and let cool a bit.(You don't want it too runny, so cool until it will keep it's shape when piped.)  Place in a ziplock bag. Cut the very tip of one of the bottom corners and trace the webs.  Be careful not to make the lines too thin or it will not be sturdy enough.  Experiment with what size lines you need to make (if they break you can always melt (or eat) them and try again.) Let the spiderwebs harden and carefully remove from the parchment paper. You can also draw on little spiders using melted chocolate and cutting a TINY corner off the ziplock bag.  Frost cooled cupcakes with any frosting  (I used chocolate) adding black food gel if desired and lay a spiderweb on top.

I was originally going to use the hi-hat frosting with these and I think they would have given the spider webs more 'pop' if I had so if you want to follow the recipe for the hi-hat frosting but dip in dark chocolate instead of white almond bark.  Then while the dark chocolate is still wet attach a spider web to the side so is standing up against the frosting. Here is a picture of my test cupcakes when I did this.

I'll update more when I have more time and find the pictures/recipes I need:)

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