Cakes, Cupcakes & Brownies

Fresh Cherry Cupcakes

by Shawnda on July 4, 2014

in Cakes, Cupcakes & Brownies,Cherries,Chocolate,Fruit

Fresh Cherry Cupcakes

Raise your hand if you have been hoarding cherries! [raises hand]

[shoves cherry in mouth, wipes fingers on jeans, raises other hand]

If you’ve ever wanted to make fresh cherry or strawberry cupcakes, you’ve probably run into similar problems: the surprising lack of recipes out there with natural ingredients and real fruit. Because if it’s anything the food industry can do, it’s really process the &^%$ out of something.

(Don’t get me started on Pistachio Muffins that contain absolutely no pistachios whatsoever.) (YOU CAN’T JUST DUMP GREEN FOOD COLORING AND ALMOND EXTRACT INTO MUFFIN BATTER AND CALL IT PISTACHIO MUFFINS.)

[takes deep breath, smooths hair]

Fresh Cherry Cupcakes

There’s no reason to use Jello, extracts, and unidentifiable chunks of [fruit]-flavored not-fruit at the height of cherry season.

I took my favorite cake recipe (the 1234) and folded fresh cherry puree into the batter along with the tiniest amount of almond extract. The result was a fluffy, moist, pink cake using only real cherries and actually tasted like cherries.

Fresh Cherry Cupcakes

Until I dumped a bunch of chocolate glaze on top and then it just tasted like my morning 2-mile run never happened.

Fresh Cherry Cupcakes

Moist, fluffy, and pink cupcakes made with fresh cherries.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb cherries, pitted
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt*
  • 3 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 egg whites (can use 4 whole eggs instead but the yolks might slightly affect your color)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1-2 drops red food gel (optional)
  • 1 recipe Chocolate Glaze
  • *An equal amount of buttermilk or sour cream would also work. I no longer buy buttermilk and just substitute nonfat Greek yogurt in all recipes.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin tins with ~30 (sorry) cupcake liners.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together for ~3 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl a couple of times.
  3. Place pitted cherries and lemon juice in the blender or food processor and process until mostly smooth.
  4. Stir the yogurt into the cherries.
  5. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.
  6. Add the eggs, vanilla and almond extract to the butter and mix until uniform.
  7. Add half the cherry mixture to the bowl and mix, switching the speed to low and adding half the dry ingredients.
  8. Scrape down the bowl and repeat.
  9. If you want to add 1-2 drops of food coloring, here is the time to do that - you don't have to, but if you don't think your batter is pink enough, just add 1 or 2 drops (I added 1 drop of Americolor Red Red).
  10. Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners and bake ~18 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center cupcake comes out with only moist crumbs attached.
  11. Cool completely before frosting or glazing.

Notes

Yields: 30 cupcakes

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 1 hour 15 minutes

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Triple Chocolate Cookie Dough Brownies

I hope you get a chance to thank a serviceman or woman this Memorial Day weekend. And buy them a drink.

Because there’s no such thing as too much appreciation when it comes to our veterans and service people.
Our freedoms aren’t by any means free. And without those fine folks, life would look a whole lot different to most of us.

Thank you to my cousin Justin, who has retired into a career of protecting and serving the good people of Sulphur Springs, Texas. And thank you to my brother-in-law Chris. And thanks to Jason’s cousin’s husbands (whew!) Scott and Daniel for their current and continued service. And let’s not forget the big, fat, gigantic “I just don’t know how you ladies do it but I’m sure glad you do” to Amanda and Sarah.

And a shout out to the heavens to my Uncle Sam and PaPaw.

We’re spending the early part of our weekend celebrating a PreK-4 soccer season with swimming and some truly (truly truly!) outrageous, fudgey brownies. Then on Monday, we’ll head over and let Landry plant a flag on my PaPaw’s grave.

Have a safe and thank-filled Memorial Day weekend, friends!

Triple Chocolate Cookie Dough Brownies

Triple Chocolate Cookie Dough Brownies

Dense, fudgey, and incredibly rich brownies studded with triple chocolate cookie dough and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Ingredients

  • Baking spray
  • 1 18.3 oz brownie mix + required ingredients (oil, eggs, and water) or your favorite brownie recipe that can be baked in a 13x9
  • 1 lb triple chocolate cookie dough (I used Specially Selected brand from Aldi)
  • 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 (or the temperature at which your favorite brownie recipe bakes).
  2. Spray a 13x9 baking pan with baking spray.
  3. Mix your brownie recipe according to package/recipe directions.
  4. Add the chocolate chips to the batter.
  5. If pre-formed, chop the cookie dough balls into quarters and run the mixer for 5-10 seconds to distribute into the batter (if spooning from a bowl, drop by small spoonfuls into the batter and then mix well).
  6. Spread the dough evenly into the baking pan and bake until the center is set and a knife inserted into the center comes out with very moist crumbs - this was 10 minutes over the baking time recommended by the mix I used.
  7. Let brownies cool completely to set.
  8. Enjoy with a tall glass of milk.

Notes

Yields: 20-24 servings, based on size cut

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 1 hour

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Chocolate Valentine's Cupcakes

“Is it Balemtime’s yet?! Can we make chocolate tweats?”

I didn’t think a 4-year-old could get more excited about something that wasn’t Christmas- or dinosaur-related. But I was wrong. It’s because there’s chocolate.

Chocolate Valentine's Cupcakes

And Master Yoda.

Yoda Best Valentine

She is my kid, after all. Although only one of us would choose broccoli & ranch over chocolate. Spoiler: IT’S NOT ME.

She picked out “chocolate writing cupcakes” to make for our friends after seeing a picture over my shoulder. And heart-shaped pancakes for Balemtime’s Dinner at home.

Chocolate Valentine's Cupcakes

Solid choices.

The one-bowl, deep, dark chocolate cupcakes are coated with an insanely messy chocolate glaze. Then decorated with melted white chocolate. Perfect for you and about 20 of your other favorite Valentines. I mean Balemtimes.

Chocolate Valentine's Cupcakes

Chocolate Valentine's Cupcakes

Rich chocolatey cupcakes, perfect for your Valentine.

Ingredients

  • For the cupcakes:
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (I used nonfat Greek yogurt)
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • For the glaze:
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp corn syrup
  • For writing:
  • 1-2 oz white chocolate, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners (I got 21 cupcakes).
  3. Whisk the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl until mixed well.
  4. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth.
  5. Scoop batter into the liners, filling ~2/3 full.
  6. Bake ~18 minutes, until the tops spring back when touched.
  7. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.
  8. Microwave the heavy cream until hot, 1 minute.
  9. Add the chopped chocolate and corn syrup and let sit for 3 minutes.
  10. Stir until smooth. If there larger chunks remain, let the chocolate sit another minute or two.
  11. Let the glaze sit about 5 minutes and then dip the cooled cupcakes into the chocolate glaze, returning to the rack to set. You'll have leftover glaze.
  12. Microwave the white chocolate in a small bowl until melted and smooth.
  13. Transfer to a sandwich bag, twist the bag closed, and snip a very tiny corner off the bag.
  14. Decorate as desired.

Notes

Yields: ~21 cupcakes

Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart

Estimated time: 60 minutes

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Dinosaur Train Fondant Cupcake Toppers

Those are the fondant cupcake toppers from Landry’s Dinosaur Train birthday party. And the photo on the left was the inspiration for those cupcakes:

Dinosaur Train Fondant Cupcake Toppers

Seriously, I was this close to making the “Tiny” cupcake, too (the topper on the bottom left). And the fact that I am still alive today tells you that someone in this house convinced me to stick with one design.

For the record, “knows my limits” is #2 on the the million-item long list titled “Why I Couldn’t Survive Without Jason.”

Because the one design took several days by itself. But the good news – I made them a week out and didn’t have to worry about them as the party was approaching.

Dinosaur Train Fondant Cupcake Toppers

Step 1: Whip up a batch of marshmallow fondant. You can buy it but my experience with store-bought fondant has always been super unfavorable.

Step 2: Color the fondant (I used Americolor yellow, blue, and red).

Step 3: Spend an hour digging through your cake decorating stuff looking for comparable shapes to the inspiration.

The cutters used above came from the following sets:
3 – Wilton Fondant Alphabet Cutters
Smoke stack – Tulip from Wilton Fondant Garden Shapes
Smoke puff (large) – Flower from Wilton Fondant Garden Shapes
Smoke puff (small) – Wilton Fondant & Gum Paste Class Kit
Circle – ~2.5-inch round biscuit cutter

Step 4: Roll out the blue circles, cut them with the biscuit cutter and use an offset spatula to transfer to a rack for drying overnight.

Step 5: Cut out the yellow tulips, lightly brush the bottom of the flowers with water (don’t soak them – one pass with a paint brush or a finger tip dipped in water will do), and place them on the blue circles. Use the biscuit cutter to cut the bottom of the tuplip off, leaving a circle.

Step 6. Cut out the smoke puffs, and place them on the blue circles.

Dinosaur Train Fondant Cupcake Toppers

Step 7. When the smoke puffs are dry, cut the red 3s, lightly brush the bottom with water, and place on the large puff of smoke.

Step 8: Let dry completely and then store until needed. I loosely covered the rack with a dish towel and placed it out of the way on the countertop until the morning of the party.

Dinosaur Train Fondant Cupcake Toppers

The cupcake toppers will soften again after coming in contact with the moisture from the frosting. I topped the morning of the party and the fondant had softened by early afternoon party.

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