I've been on a cupcake baking spree lately. Just practicing for that "someday" when Annette and I open our own cupcake bakery. We already have a perfect name for it. Wish I could tell you what that is but copyrighting is tricky like that, but trust me it's FABULOUS.
Is it just me or do cupcakes generally make people happy? Because just baking them makes me happy. Sure, I'll force one down once they're done even though I'm usually so full of quality control samples of frosting and batter that I'm almost sick, but seeing people heartily and blissfully enjoying one of my cupcake masterpieces? SWEET.
Here are a few I've tried recently and then I'll tell you about when bad things happen to good cupcakes. It's riveting material, I tell you.
Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes . I thought for sure I had taken a picture of mine but can't seem to find it. Mine ended up looking remarkably similar to the ones on the website. These cupcakes looked and tasted like sunshine in spring. Citrusy and refreshing. And the frosting? Well, let's just say I had some leftover and dipped strawberries in it for a little afternoon snack. It's delightful.
Margarita Cupcakes. Based loosely on this recipe. Instead of using real tequila I bought the non alcoholic margarita mix and used some of that in both the cake batter and the frosting. Funny story behind these cupcakes. I was actually going to use the tequila that it called for because I was making them for myself for Mother's Day. I am not a fan of Mother's Day since well, my mom died and then adding in that GI Joe was supposed to work and there was a soccer game and practice. I thought a little tequila in the cupcakes might take the edge off. So what if I ended up dancing on the bleachers at the soccer game with frosting all over my face? It was my party and I can eat cupcakes if I want to! The only problem came when we were grocery shopping and I said to GI Joe, "Distract the kids because I need to buy tequila." I knew that if we pushed the cart down the liquor aisle in search of tequila they'd be dialing up the prayer chain at church and putting us on it. So I was left alone to peruse the liquor for tequila but couldn't find the mini bar size that I so desperately needed and I certainly didn't think having a fifth of tequila in the cupboard (next to the brandy of course) would be a good idea. I gave up the search and when I got in the car had to shake my head dejectedly when GI Joe asked in a hushed whisper "if I'd gotten the tequila?". The next day it was just the kids and I at my Wal Mart and I figured it was my last chance to procure a mini bottle of tequila for my cupcakes so I told them to close their eyes because we had to go down the "bad aisle" so Mommy could get something for a recipe. I don't know if you're aware of this but telling your kids to close their eyes is basically like telling them, "KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN AND COMMENT LOUDLY ON EVERYTHING YOU SEE". So as we were hurriedly going down the liquor aisle they were shouting things like, "MOMMY WHY DO YOU NEED BEER?!" or "MOMMY!! YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BUY THAT STUFF!!!". Finally, I told them to help me look for a bottle with the word "tequila" on it because I needed it for a "friend" who was making a recipe where the bad part of the tequila cooks out anyway. So then their shouts of condemnation turned into "MOMMY, WILL THE BOTTLE THAT HAS V-O-D-K-A ON IT WORK?" and "MOMMY I FOUND THE TEQUILA...AND IT'S A HUGE BOTTLE...IS THAT ENOUGH MOMMY?"
After all that I still couldn't find a mini bar sized bottle. But after all that I was definitely ready to commit to the full bottle. To make a long story longer, sadly, I did not use real tequila in my margarita cupcakes and they were great. They actually tasted like a margarita, not that I can either confirm or deny those claims, but from what I've heard they taste just like these cupcakes. Yum.
Then there were these cupcakes....
Peanut Butter Stuffed Hot Fudge Cupcakes aka heaven in cake form. Here's the recipe. It really is so easy and less overwhelming than it looks. Oh and amazing. I made these cupcakes 3 times in 2 weeks. After eating these cupcakes, I had one marriage proposal and 7 declarations of undying love....seriously These cupcakes are LIFE CHANGING. Make them you won't be sorry.
You know who else loved these cupcakes? MY DOGS. I made a special batch for my friend Dougie D, who is my partner in Reese's crime and enjoys peanut butter+chocolate maybe even more than I do, who we were meeting for wings one night. We had some time to kill after the cupcakes were done and frosted before it was time to head into town for our wing date. GI Joe, the kids, and I went on a little adventure into the woods to look for mushrooms. About 20 minutes into our excursion, it hit me that I couldn't remember putting the cupcake carrier full of these babies out of reach of Moose and Bubba. We hurried home and sure enough when I walked into the kitchen I found my cupcake carrier on the floor, with the lid still on, covered in teeth marks. The good news is that they didn't actually get to the cupcakes, the bad news was they dragged the cupcake carrier all over the kitchen trying to get it open so the once beautiful, picturesque cupcakes made especially for Dougie, were one big mess of chocolate cake and peanut butter frosting. Doug had so been looking forward to these cupcakes that I absolutely could not let him down so I got to work spooning the cake/frosting mess into the cupcake liners that had held the once whole cupcakes. I didn't win any awards for presentation but we dug into those cupcakes with spoons after we ate our wings that night and Dougie was one happy camper. Turns out he's really not concerned with the cupcake appearance anyway. Weird.
I've also made these...Strawberry Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Strawberry Frosting. Doesn't that sound fancy? They were fancy and delicious. In the future, I may just whip up a batch of this frosting and serve it as Strawberry Mousse for dessert because WOW. Bonus points for pinkness.
And these....Cookies and Cream Cupcakes. Have you EVER?!? Oreos + Cupcakes + frosting that tastes like the middle of said Oreo=truluv4eva.
I think these might be my favorite so far, thanks in large part to the frosting. And now my mouth is watering.
How 'bout you? Hungry yet?
THESE.....Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes. Read that again and I'll wait a minute while you let the awesomeness sink in. The cupcake part of this reminded me of a chocolate chip muffin which was nice and unassuming until you got to the middle and got a bite of real cookie dough! REAL COOKIE DOUGH!!! Like the kind DQ puts in their Blizzards. Miraculous! And then there's the frosting. The frosting tastes like the beginning stages of cookie dough, you know before you put the flour in and it gets all thick and pasty? No matter how much I beat the frosting it still had a little bit of the graininess from the sugars combined with the butter. At first it bothered me, but then I realized that just made it that much more authentic cookie dough like and went ahead and ate my weight in cookie dough frosting. Hey, we all have our crosses to bear.
That's what I've been up to, my own little Cupcake Wars. However, instead of competing against other cupcake makers, my cupcakes are competing with my scale and I think it goes without saying who's currently in the lead. But like the sign in my kitchen says....
KEEP CALM HAVE A CUPCAKE!