Braaaaains!

Halloween cupcakes

For ages I’ve been promising one of my friends that we’d do some fun baking together and that I’d show him some cool baking tricks. And what recipe, you ask, did I think would be perfect for honing his baking skills? Why, the first of my Halloween baking: brain cupcakes with bleeding centers! You know you have good friends when they’re equally as happy to make gross Halloween food as you. So without further ado, meet my baking assistant and mad scientist, Trond!

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Brain Cupcakes
Yields 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1/2 stick (57 grams) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup milk

For the filling:
Raspberry or strawberry jam

For the frosting:
2 sticks (about 226 grams) butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pink food coloring

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Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Pumpkin spice cupcakes

Fall baking just wouldn’t be Fall baking without some pumpkin cupcakes. This time of year, I just want to eat all things pumpkin flavored until I’m so sick of pumpkin I don’t want to see it for another year. But that’s just me. My husband, on the other hand, couldn’t be less excited about pumpkin flavored things. Maybe it’s an American thing, a taste most of us acquired growing up. But being the usual good sport, my husband agreed to try my pumpkin flavored cupcakes, amongst the slew of other pumpkin flavored goodies. I haven’t seen my cupcakes since… or my husband for that matter…

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
Yields 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1/2 stick (57 grams) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup milk

For the frosting:
1 cup milk
5 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup (226 grams) butter
1 cup granulated sugar

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Chocolate Maple Cupcakes

Chocolate maple cupcakes

The other day my husband and I took a walk where we ended up at one of the grocery stores for a little after walk snack. As we were perusing the isles trying to decide what we wanted, we managed to end up in my favorite isle: the baking isle. And as I was looking to see if there were any new sets of sprinkles I might want to add to my growing collection, I saw a small glass jar of golden brown liquid… maple syrup!! This delectable syrupy treat is not so easy to find here in Norway where everyone seems to think it’s too sugary and can’t understand why in the world we’d want to make a sticky mess out of our pancakes (here they smear pancakes with jam and eat them with their hands). So I snatched it up (even at almost $20 for a bottle) and raced home to add it to my ever growing list of Fall baking ideas.

Chocolate Maple Cupcakes
Yields 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1/2 stick (57 grams) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tbsp. baking cocoa
1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup milk

For the frosting:
2 1/2 sticks (285 grams) butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

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Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

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Sometimes, a recipe is a work in progress. Sometimes, you make it and make it over again just because it didn’t turn out quite right the first time. I wish I could say every recipe I make turns out right on the first try, and that I’ve gotten to the point where I can just put myself on autopilot and bake away. Honestly, I don’t think the latter ever really happens; it’s at that point that you get overconfident and mess up, and the whole process humbles you right back to where you’re supposed to be, having a healthy amount of respect for the wild, finicky beast that is baking. This recipe is one of those examples. It’s a recipe that I made and remade until I got each component just right, until I found new respect for my unpredictable oven, my “I’ve changed the setting 50 times on this thing just to get it the right amount of cool” refrigerator, and all my little “What the #&*/ did I do wrong?!” learning moments along the way. Sometimes, everything works out right the first time. Sometimes, even the simple recipes like to remind you that no matter how many years you’ve been cooking, you’ve still got a whole lot to learn!

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes
Yields 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1/2 stick (57 grams) butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup milk

For the filling:
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 tbsp. butter

For the chocolate ganache frosting:
3 1/2 bars (350 grams) dark chocolate
1 cup heavy cream

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Everything’s Coming Up Roses!

Cupcake bouquet

Wow, time sure flies when you’re having fun! Or just busy. Either way, I had the best intentions (the very best, I swear!) to make several blog posts before I went on my five week vacation to visit my family in the US that I could post so there wouldn’t be quite such a lapse in my blog.  Obviously, that didn’t happen. And once on vacation, we were fortunate enough to get lots of quality family time, followed by the arrival of several of my good Norwegian friends. We went white water rafting, took surfing lessons, visited an arcade bar, took in a scenic hike, and just when we thought we couldn’t have anymore fun, my Mum returned to Norway with us for a two week visit. Needless to say it’s been a busy (in a good sort of way) summer. But even though a fun summer has come and passed, I can at least console myself by jumping back into some much missed baking time! And having recently returned from the US where I was able to stock up on a number of hard to find baking items, I’ve finally got the supplies to make something I’ve seen all over the internet and have really been wanting to make for a long time!

Cupcake Bouquet
Makes one 6cupcake bouquet

Supplies:
One 6″ foam ball
Toothpicks
A flower pot
Tissue paper
Green tissue paper or shredded paper
Approximately 20-24 cupcakes

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