Showing posts with label cupcakes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cupcakes. Show all posts

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Coconut Cupcakes That Weren't

This is the problem with a recipe blog by authors. Every recipe has a story. The drama! The gnashing of teeth! The sighs and tears.

Okay, so the recipes aren't quite that dramatic. I had every intention of making coconut cupcakes for Easter. But when I considered how to make the actual cupcake, I was underwhelmed because they rarely have much coconut flavor. Vanilla cupcakes, I decided.

So I baked the vanilla cupcakes, but in the process found that the cupcake liners I had were ginormous. Oh my! See the funny photos below showing the difference between a regular cupcake and giant ones. Not to worry, I thought, we'll eat them anyway.

So since the cake part was simply vanilla, I thought I should make a nice lemon curd as a filling. But when I was looking for something else, I spied a jar of Nutella in the pantry. It seemed somehow Easter-y to have a surprise chocolate hazelnut center and it's a lot less work than making the curd. Nutella it was.

I could still make the tooth-achingly sweet coconut marshmallow buttercream I had in mind. So as the mixer whirred and whirred and whirred (really, that's the secret to a wonderful frosting) and it became silky smooth, I didn't want to add the coconut and make it all chunky. Aha! I would sprinkle it over the top.

So I piped the lovely frosting on top and tried to sprinkle the coconut, which just looked really awful. And so the coconut cupcakes turned out not to be coconut. But they're still pretty good.

If this looks like a project, you can do a few different things.

1. Bake the cupcakes, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

2. Bake the cupcakes and fill with something else, like lemon curd.

3. Bake the cupcakes and don't fill them with anything, simply frost them.

Vanilla Cupcakes

1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick butter (4 tablespoons, room temperature)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs (room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Place cupcake liners in pan.

Mix the milk with the vinegar and set aside. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter with the sugar and the vegetable oil. Add the eggs and beat at least two minutes. On a slow speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture. Add the vanilla and beat at least 3-4 minutes.

Spoon into the prepared papers and bake 16 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a rack.


Carve a small divot out of the center of each cupcake. You can use the wide part of a piping tip or a knife. Fill with Nutella and place the top part of the portion you removed back on the filling.

Cream Cheese and Marshmallow Buttercream

1/2 stick of butter (4 tablespoons, room temperature)
2 tablespoons cream cheese (room temperature)
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
24+ jelly beans

Place the butter, cream cheese, and marshmallow fluff in the mix and beat well. Add the vanilla and beat. Add one cup of powdered sugar at a time, and mix on low, raising the speed as it's incorporated. Beat on high for five minutes.

Pipe onto cupcakes and place jelly beans in center.

Look at the difference!

Take out the divot with a piping tip!

Remove divot.
Spoon filling into hole.

Cover with top of portion removed.

Happy Easter, Everyone!  

Friday, April 7, 2017

Almond Raspberry Cupcakes for #Easter #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: Doesn't it seem as though Easter used to be a much bigger deal? When I was growing up, we dressed up in new dresses and hats, went to church, and then had a hunt for baskets and a big family dinner. These days, we are pared down to a sunrise service on the beach (lovely) and something tasty for dinner. But what?

I know you probably realize that I love everything almond, baked goods that is. So when I saw an article in the New York Times by Melissa Clark about almond cupcakes, my antennae quivered. This looked like a perfect spring or Easter dessert. Of course I changed a few things, as I love raspberry jam more than cherry or chocolate. (I know, heresy.)

They came out light and adorable and I share them with you. Don't skimp on the quality of the raspberry jam – this is the future of the cupcakes!


6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Three-quarter cup almond flour
Three-quarter cup confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Two large eggs
Few drops almond extract
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder (low-sodium if you need it)
Two egg whites
2 tablespoons sugar
Raspberry jam

Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare a muffin/cupcake tin with paper liners or butter. (Melissa Clark greased her muffin tin--that has always resulted in a big mess for me!)

Mix the almond flour, confectioners sugar, and salt. Beat in the eggs and almond extract. Pulse in the butter, cornstarch, and baking powder.

Whip the egg whites until foamy, then gradually add in the granulated sugar and continue beating until the whites are stiff. Fold one third of the egg whites into the almond flour bowl. Mix this gently, and then fold in the remainder of the egg whites until no white streaks remain.

Distribute the batter into the cupcake liners. Bake for 10 minutes and remove the pan from the oven. Drop a generous dollop of the jam in the center of each cupcake, and return the pan to the oven. Bake another 8 to 10 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Here's how it looks...

Beating eggs into flour mixture

whipping egg whites with sugar

folding in the whites

adding jam to partially baked cupcakes

almost there!

Happy Easter, Key West style!

Lucy writes the Key West food critic mysteries. Follow her on Facebook, TwitterPinterest, and Instagram!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Cranberry Spice Cupcakes

Comments have become a powerful force on the web. Every time I look at a new recipe or for that matter, something that I'm going to buy, I always read the comments. As writers, we are painfully aware of the comments people leave about our books.

In recipeland, I find them very helpful. If a lot of people complain about the same thing (too dry, cooking time is too long, etc.) I know I have to pay attention to that, and I adjust the recipe accordingly.

This recipe was inspired by Southern Living's showstopper Spice Cake with Cranberry Filling. Now that's what I call a presentation! White spice cake with a cranberry filling, and apple cider white frosting! And they made Christmas trees by frosting upside-down ice cream cones! Clever and gorgeous.

But I wanted to make cupcakes so I made a few adjustments. First, I cut the recipe in half. There aren't too many comments, but a couple of them mentioned that the applesauce flavor is lost in the buttercream frosting. I can believe that. It takes some powerful flavoring to stand up to buttercream. So I put the apple cider in the cake recipe instead, and altered the spices to suit my preferences. I did follow the instructions for the cranberry filling, except I intentionally left out the orange juice. And for the frosting, I used tried and true plain old vanilla buttercream frosting.

This recipe has three segments, but don't let that intimidate you. The cupcakes are very easy to make. The cranberries aren't any harder than making them for Thanksgiving. And the frosting is easy, too. In addition, this doesn't have to be a marathon. You can make them at different times and put them together when you have an hour. Actually, it didn't take me that long.

Cranberry Filling

Make this first because it needs to cool and stiffen some. The original recipe suggests refrigerating it for 8 to 24 hours before using. I followed a helpful comment and popped it into the fridge and then into the freezer for about an hour. That worked fine. Note: I used 1/4 cup of water when I should have used 1/2 tablespoon! It worked okay.

1 cup fresh or frozen whole cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
1 tablespoon butter

Combine the cranberries and the sugar in a small pot. Mix the cornstarch with the water and stir into the pot. Over medium low heat, cook 4-5 minutes, until the cranberries begin to burst. Cook one more minute, stirring constantly. Add the chopped cranberries and the butter and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Cool on counter briefly, then place in fridge on a towel. When cooler, move to freezer for about 1 hour.

Spice Cake
(makes 18 cupcakes)

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of cloves

1/2 cup apple cider
1/4 cup milk
splash (1/2 teaspoon) vinegar

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Place cupcake papers in cupcake wells.

Mix together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir well to combine. Set aside.

In a two-cup measuring cup (or anything else, but that requires the least cleanup!), pour 1/2 cup apple cider, 1/4 cup milk, and vinegar. Let stand.

Beat the butter with the sugar about 4 minutes. It will turn white and silky. Beat in each egg until well combined. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the apple cider mixture. Add vanilla and beat.

Fill cupcake papers half full. Bake 15 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

1 cup butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream

Beat the butter. Reduce speed to low and add the sugar 1 cup at a time. When all the powdered sugar is in, beat on high for at least 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and the cream and beat 1 more minute.


Wilton's Sugar Pearls

Pipe little rosettes around the rim of each cupcake.

Fill the center with a small amount of cranberry filling.

If desired, pipe a mini Christmas tree in the middle of the cranberries by simply piping smaller and smaller circles as you go up.

Use tweezers to place a sugar pearl on each rosette and on the tops of the trees. (Note: if you don't want to use the pearls, they look every bit as cute without them. Look for the one I left plain in the picture to see the difference.)

How to Get the Look Without the Hassle 

Bake the cupcakes or buy plain cupcakes.
Buy white icing in a can and make the little rosettes.
Buy cherry pie filling and use the thick liquid part in the middles of the cupcakes.
Adorn with sugar pearls.

One cup of cranberries.

Add cornstarch to thicken.

Cook. Very easy.

Mix flour and spices.

A lovely batter.

Only fill cupcakes 1/2 full because they rise.

The secret to this frosting is to beat and beat!

Can you tell which one doesn't have pearls on it?

Which one would you like?

Since it's our holiday recipe week here at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, I'm giving away a book. Winner's choice of The Diva Serves High Tea or Murder Most Howl! To enter, leave a comment with your email address, please. Good Luck!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Red, White, and BLUE VELVET CUPCAKES for July Fourth from Cleo Coyle

Like red velvet cake, blue velvet cake carries a wonderful hint of cocoa. This recipe makes a beautiful cake (or cupcakes) for birthday parties, for baby and wedding showers, for school and sports teams with blue colors, or even, yes...a Doctor Who Wedding Cake!

Laine Barash, a longtime reader of our Coffeehouse Mysteries, sent me these photos after using my Blue Velvet Cupcake recipe for her daughter Johanna's big day.... 

Doctor Who Wedding Cake Slice
Design and Photo by Laine Barash

Doctor Who Wedding Cake
Design and Photo by Laine Barash

With July Fourth almost here, I'm sharing this recipe again as a fun dessert idea for Independence Day celebrations.

There are many ways to add the "red" and "white" to the Blue Velvet bakery concept. You can ice half of the blue cupcakes with blue icing, for instance; half with red icing; and use white star sprinkles to decorate the tops of all of them. 

Or, if you're really ambitious, you can make a batch of red velvet cupcakes, a batch of white cupcakes, and a batch of these blue babies. Then you can line them all up on a tray or dessert table to resemble an American Flag. 

Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime writing—her husband. 
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.

I confess I didn't bake and photograph those ideas for this post because I'm working hard with my husband (and partner in crime-writing) to complete our next Coffeehouse Mystery. BUT...

If I did have the time, I can tell you it would have been a fun project. So however you use this recipe, I sincerely hope you have a Happy Fourth...

May you eat with red-white-and-blue velvet joy!

~ Cleo Coyle 

To download this recipe
in a PDF document that you
can print, save, or share,
click here

Click Here for the
Free Recipe PDF.

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Cleo Coyle's Blue Velvet Cupcakes
with Blue Buttercream Frosting

Makes about 16 cupcakes


1 box of white or vanilla cake mix (with pudding in the mix)

4 teaspoons natural, unsweetened cocoa powder 

1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use canola) 

3 eggs (lightly beaten with a fork) 

1 cup whole milk + ¼ cup whole milk (add separately) 

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1-2 teaspoons Royal Blue food coloring gel or paste 

      (also called Icing Color) 

*Important Note on the food coloring: Because of the brown cocoa powder in this recipe, your cupcakes will end up turquoise in color (or even greenish) instead of blue if you use the wrong kind of food coloring or the wrong amount. To get the beautiful shade of blue in my photos, be sure you do two things: (1) Do not use water-based food coloring such as McCormick’s brand. Use a gel paste coloring. I used Wilton Royal Blue Icing Color gel paste. Michael’s stores carry it in their baking supplies section, but you can also buy it online; click here to see. (2) My other piece of advice is to use enough of the food coloring. Don’t skimp. Start with 1 full teaspoon, at least. You may need up to another full teaspoon to see your batter turn the shade of blue you like best. (Some bakers add a very small amount of violet gel paste to help achieve a deep, royal blue. Give that a try, if you like, but I did achieve a pretty blue color using only blue gel paste.) 

For the Cupcakes

Step 1: First preheat your oven to 325° F. Place the vinegar in a measuring cup and fill to the 1 cup line with whole milk. Set aside for five minutes.

Step 2: Into a large mixing bowl, combine the box of cake mix, cocoa powder, vegetable or canola oil, and eggs. Add the sour milk from Step 1 and an additional ¼ cup whole milk. Beat with an electric mixer for about a minute until a smooth batter forms. (Be sure to scrape down the bowl as you mix.)

Step 3: Measure out 1 teaspoon of the royal blue gel paste and add it to the batter. Mix well and observe the color. You may need to add up to 1 more teaspoon of gel paste to achieve the depth of blue you want.

Step 4: Line cupcake tins with paper liners. Take out the ¼ cup container in your measuring set. Use it to measure out the batter for each cupcake. This will keep the size consistent.

Bake in your preheated 325° F. oven for 20 to 25 minutes (exact time depends on your oven). Cupcakes are done when the top is set and a toothpick inserted into the center of a test cupcake comes out free of wet batter. Transfer pans to a cooling rack and allow the cupcakes to cool in their pans at least five minutes before removing.

Buttercream Icing

10 tablespoons butter, softened

3 cups confectioners’ sugar (aka powdered or icing sugar)

3 tablespoons whole milk (+ maybe a little extra)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Royal Blue food coloring gel paste (also called Icing Color)

Notes for success: Canned icing doesn’t come close to comparing to the wonderful taste of homemade buttercream. It’s easy to make. Just be sure to: (A) Start with softened butter. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to cream it. (B) When adding milk start with the lowest amount possible and add it in very slowly until you achieve a smooth, spreadable icing. If you throw in a large amount of milk, you will end up with watery frosting—at that point, even if you whip more butter into it, the frosting may remain grainy. (Ask me how I know.)

Step 1: Into a mixing bowl, cut the softened butter into pieces. Measure in the vanilla. Using an electric mixer, cream these ingredients until light and fluffy. Stop the mixer.

Step 2: Add in the confectioners’ sugar and 3 tablespoons of milk. (No more!) Beat until the sugar is completely incorporated. If the frosting is still too thick, add in a very small splash of milk and beat again. Add in more milk this way, a little at a time, until you get a smooth consistency that’s easy to spread on your cupcake tops. (Try a test frosting of one cupcake to be sure.)

Step 3: Finally, add a small amount of gel paste coloring to the frosting and beat it again. Add more gel paste to achieve the exact shade of blue that you’d like. My method of adding the gel paste is pretty basic—I dip the tines of a fork into the bottle to scoop out the gel and roughly mix it into the frosting before beating again. Frost your cupcakes and eat with blue velvet joy.

Happy July Fourth, Everyone!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of  
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