Sunday, April 26, 2009

Earth Day Cupcakes

Today BF and I connected with a bunch of his scuba diving buddies and celebrated Earth Day with a good old fashioned beach cleanup. Of course, I made cupcakes.

I thought they turned out pretty cute. The cupcakes are cherry flavoured with almond buttercream (The recipes are on one of my previous posts, here). As usual, when baking for people I don't know well, I went with a tried and true recipe that has gotten good reviews in the past.

To keep with the Earth Day theme, I swirled the icing by colouring half of it leaf green and the other half sky blue (nice nature colours!) and filling the pastry bag with half of each (one on each side of the bag). In the center of each, I placed a foil-covered chocolate planet Earth. I picked these up at a local candy store (Sweet Janes near Spring Garden Road for all of you Haligonians out there) and did my best to match the frosting colours to them. The frosting was piped with a 1M tip as usual.

Everyone really liked them and there were none left to bring home, so I think that counts as a success!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter Bunny Mango and Coconut Cupcakes Recipe

It's BF's birthday tomorrow!!!

And it just so happened that his birthday fell on Easter weekend this year, so that means Easter themed cupcakes!

Since it's his birthday, I let BF pick the flavour of the cupcakes and he decided on mango. I saw this idea for Easter bunny cupcakes on the Kraft website and I thought they were too cute so I decided to do something similar. Instead of marshmallow bunnies I used these adorable belgian chocolate bunnies that I found. They are wonderfully detailed with cute little faces. I fell in love as soon as I saw them. Each bunny sits on a bed of grass (just mix 1 tsp water with some green food colouring, throw it in a ziplock bag with some shredded coconut and shake!) and is watching over a couple of the tiniest Easter eggs I've ever seen (Cadbury Micro Mini Eggs).

When they were finished I thought they looked like a little army of bunnies. BF approved.

Here's the recipe:

Mango Cupcakes


1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs, separated and at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup mango puree (it comes in a can)
1 mango, peeled and diced finely

Recipe makes about 3 dozen cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line muffin tins.

In a large bowl, cream butter on medium speed for about a minute. Slowly pour in sugar and beat for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix to combine. Add yolks, two at a time, beating for a full minute after each addition.

In a second bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the creamed mixture in three additions, alternating with the mango puree.

In a third bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer on high until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into the batter.

Fold in diced mango pieces. Fill cupcake cups 2/3 full and bake for 22 to 25 minutes until tests done with a toothpick. Allow to cool before frosting.

I topped these cupcakes with coconut buttercream, the recipe for which I previously posted here.

Easter Basket Cheesecake Cupcakes

These cupcakes were also inspired by the Kraft website. I had never made cheesecake cupcakes before and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it. Because the cheesecake doesn't rise and puff up like a regular cake, they don't quite reach the top of the cupcake cup, leaving ample room to fill them with Easter goodies.

I think that no cheesecake is complete without a crust, so I started with a vanilla wafer crumb crust topped with vanilla cheesecake. Once that had was finished baking, I allowed the cakes to cool completely and then refrigerated them. I finished them off with a chocolate topping and basket decorations made from shredded coconut, green shoelace licorice and jelly beans. They turned out wonderfully rich and decadent, I can't wait to serve them at BF's birthday party tomorrow!

Here are the recipes. Makes approximately 20 cupcakes.

Recipe: Vanilla Wafer Crumb Crust

1/3 cup butter
1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs

Melt butter. Mix with crumbs until fully combined. Spoon 1 Tbsp of the crumb mixture in each muffin cup. Firmly press the crumbs into the base of the cups using the back of a spoon. Be sure the crust reaches out to the edges of the bottom of the cup.

Recipe: Vanilla Cheesecake

3/4 cup sour cream
2 8oz packages of cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp flour
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place sour cream in mixing bowl and beat for a few seconds until fluffy. Add cream cheese and continue to beat until evenly combined and fluffy. Add sugar, vanilla and flour and mix until combined. Add eggs one at a time, mixing on low speed just until combined.

Spoon into muffin cups on top of the vanilla wafer crumb crust, so that muffin cups are 3/4 full. Bake for 22 -25 minutes or until centers are almost set. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for about an hour.

Recipe: Chocolate Topping

5 oz semisweet chocolate (5 squares)
1/2 cup sour cream

Melt chocolate over a double boiler. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream. Place a thin layer of the chocolate on top of each cupcake using the back of a spoon (to avoid getting chocolate on the paper wrapper).

Take a 4" length of shoelace licorice and press each end through the cheese cake about 2mm from the edge of the cake, forming the handle of the basket. Sprinkle the cupcake with coconut and place a few candies in the center of the cupcake.