Tag Archives: cupcakes

Fallin’ for Pumpkin | Vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream

17 Nov

“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms.” – You’ve Got Mail


There are many things that I love about Fall. It holds a certain sense of nostalgia for me, a kind of love affair and anticipation of all the things that I love. New England in the Fall all that I have ever known. Memories of being a hooded little version of myself jumping in piles of leaves and making Simon the scarecrow with my Gram. Pumpkin carving, trick or treating, celebrating all of the wonderful Fall birthdays in my family, and favorite Fall foods like acorn squash, pumpkin everything, and apple pies.

As an adult, I have my own traditions built on the life that Kate and I share together. The Halloween costumes remain as well as recipes riddled with pumpkin and fall flavors. The following recipe is one that I made for the annual Diesel Halloween party, it could be made with dairy and it would be just as tasty, as always I like a baking challenge and also try to bake things that all the guests at the party can enjoy!

Vegan Pumpkin Bliss

Vegan Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream

adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

Makes 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

2 c 100% pure canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2/3 c canola oil
2 c organic vegan sugar
1/2 c organic vanilla soy milk
1/2 tsp Bragg’s organic and raw cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur Flour)
 1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp all natural fine sea salt

Maple Buttercream

adapted from Wilton’s Classic Buttercream Icing

Yield: generous frosting for 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

1 c Spectrum Non-hydrogenated Vegetable Shortening
1 c Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (softened)
2 tsp vanilla extract
8 c confectioners’ sugar (sifted)
4 TBS organic vanilla soy milk
4 TBS organic maple syrup
pinch of all natural fine sea salt

Cupcake Directions

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin pans with cupcake wrappers.

2) In a small bowl combine the soy milk and cider vinegar and let stand for 5 minutes. This will make vegan buttermilk.

3) In a large bowl stir together the pumpkin, canola oil, sugar, vegan buttermilk, and vanilla. Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Stir together with a fork, don’t use a mixer it will make the batter gummy.

4) Once combined fill the liners two-thirds full. Bake for 22 to 24 minutes. Rotate cupcake trays at approximately 14 minutes into the total baking time to ensure even baking.

5) Remove cupcakes from pans and transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.

Frosting Directions

1) In large bowl, cream shortening and Earth Balance with electric mixer. Add vanilla.

2) Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry.

3) Add soy milk and maple syrup, then beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Remember to taste the frosting as you are adding the maple syrup, keep adding by the TBS until you achieve your desired taste. If the frosting appears to thick, add more soy milk, but be cautious   and add a little at a time in order to not thin it out too much.

4) Once you have reached the desired consistency, then add a pinch of sea salt and beat just to incorporate. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.

These cupcakes were a big hit at the party. Kate said that the cake was the best pumpkin cake I’ve ever made, they were super moist and flavorful. You would never know they were vegan. Also, when dreaming up the frosting flavor, Kate doubted my decision to try a maple frosting, remarking that it might not be a flavor combo that appeals to the masses. She voted for a cinnamon buttercream, but I went with my gut and it was amazing.

Notes:
– This recipe could be made non-vegan by substituting butter in for Earth Balance and whole milk for the soy milk.
– An easy way to frost cupcakes is to fill a plastic Ziploc bag with frosting and cut one bottom corner of the bag off. Twist close the top opening of the bag and squeeze some frosting back into the bowl to remove any air pockets. Then start from the center of your cupcake and with even pressure move in a spiral until you fill the cupcake to the edge. Don’t worry if you mess up, just scrape the frosting back into the frosting bowl using a butter knife.

Best Frosting Ever | Nutella Buttercream Atop Chocolate Cupcakes

5 Sep

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I can’t post this without first acknowledging that it’s been a LOOOONG time since my last post. Phew, so sorry! I promise this hasn’t turned into an orphan blog. She still has loving parents. 🙂 I hope this recipe is well worth the wait (I think it is).

A note about the cupcakes. Yes, they are indeed vegan. Gasp. Your friends, family members, neighbors and co-workers won’t notice. It’s a great recipe to have on hand when you are low on things like butter & eggs but want to make an amazing treat to brighten someone’s day. If you are making these cupcakes for a vegan friend, frost these with a vanilla or coffee “buttercream” (make any standard buttercream recipe but use shortening and/or a vegan “butter” substitute for the butter & soy, almond or coconut milk for the liquid) — sadly the Nutella buttercream recipe that follows the cupcake recipe is not vegan.

Your Basic Chocolate Cupcake 

Recipe credit: Original recipe from “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World” baking book — adapted by Jess.

Makes 12 cupcakes (We almost always double the recipe!)

Ingredients

1 cup soy milk (You can use almond milk or if you’re not worried about making these vegan you can also use regular milk or buttermilk. If you use buttermilk, omit the vinegar below.)

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup canola oil

1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed or regular

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (It’s our secret weapon! When added in small amounts to chocolate baked goods, it brings out their chocolately goodness. It can be found in the coffee aisle of most markets and/or specialty stores. It is different from ground espresso as it dissolves completely in water.)

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line muffin pan with paper or foil liners.

2) Whisk together the soy milk (or whatever you’ve decided to use*) and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. *You’re basically making “buttermilk” so, again, if you decide to use buttermilk, skip the vinegar & this step.

3) Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla extract to the soy milk mixture and beat until foamy.

4) In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder. Add in two batches to the wet ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain (a few tiny lumps are okay).

5) Pour into liners, filling three-quarters of the way. Bake 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (we rotated the pans after 13 minutes).

6) Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting.

Nutella Buttercream Frosting

You don’t have to love Nutella to love this frosting but it’s true, you MUST like a chocolate/hazelnut combo. The frosting is super fluffy & light. The salt is an absolute necessity as it perfectly cuts the sweetness of the Nutella. We use a pastry bag to appropriately gob the frosting on top of each cupcake — and be warned — it’s quite tempting to pile some onto a spoon for eating.  Try to show some restraint, okay?

(Recipe credit: I referenced a few recipes online before mixing & matching & adapting.)

This should frost a layer cake and 12 cupcakes but I usually second guess it and double the recipe (and always end up with leftovers but I’d rather have leftover frosting than be scrambling to make another batch!).

Ingredients

1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup of shortening

2 cups powdered sugar

2/3 cup Nutella (hazelnut spread)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

2 tablespoons whole milk

1) In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, shortening and sugar together on low until well combined. Add the Nutella and increase speed to medium. Beat for two minutes.

2) Add the vanilla and salt, beating for an additional 30 seconds.

3) Last, add the milk and continue to beat for about one minute, or until frosting lightens slightly in both color and texture.

4) Frost cupcakes & enjoy. YUM!

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Happy National Vanilla Cupcake Day! | Our Best Baking Discovery Yet…

10 Nov

We’ve been baking up a storm recently. Yes, even I (“maker”) am inserting myself smack dab in the middle of the confectioner’s sugar and flour melee! The dogs are thrilled. Ollie literally sat behind me in the kitchen, nose up, tongue out, licking the sweet air as I sifted 16 cups of confectioners sugar for buttercream frosting.

I inherited my mom’s endless search for a homemade vanilla/yellow cake that satisfied my picky palate. I was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by home baked goods. The only thing my mom and grandmother ever made from a box was Jiffy cornbread. My dad is famous for his amazing breads and blueberry muffins…oh and his raspberry & peach jams. Lucky, yes…but I’ll never forget my first taste of yellow box cake at a friend’s birthday party. I begged & begged my mom for a box cake for the next several birthdays. She refused but spent lots of time researching cookbooks & experimenting with recipes trying to emulate that funkily delicious yellow box cake flavor. She even tried trickery — adding yellow food coloring to a sponge cake recipe — but I was not to be fooled!

Fortunately, our current searches for recipes have broadened immensely thanks to the interwebs. It’s how I stumbled upon, quite possibly, the best vanilla cake recipe I’ve ever made. I think my search is over! It’s been a long time coming & there were certainly false glimpses of hope. Like the time a friend shared a recipe online for the famous Party Favors (a local bakery) cupcakes. They’ve mastered the yellow cake from scratch. It’s honestly INSANELY good. Like so good, it was our wedding cake — plain & simple yellow cake with vanilla buttercream. The recipe can be found here, BUT I must warn you, it’s not worth your time. 1) I’m sure they didn’t share the actual recipe. 2) It doesn’t seem quite right — as is sometimes the case when bakers/cooks try to scale down BIG recipes for the home baker/cook. The recommended buttercream frosting recipe is amazing. I’ve also shared it below.

Ok. So on with it. The BESTEST vanilla or “yellow” cake we’ve ever baked. To think it was sitting under our noses on one of our favorite blogs, to boot! Mom…this one’s for you! xo

Cake recipe credit: Smitten Kitchen: Best Yellow Layer Cake

Best Yellow Cupcakes
Yield: ~ 20-22 cupcakes

Ingredients
4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (480 grams) cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
2 sticks (1 cup, 1/2 pound or 225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (400 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk (475 ml), well-shaken

Steps
1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 cupcake tins with cupcake wrappers and set aside.

2) Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled…don’t panic…this is exactly how it should look). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated.

3) Use an ice cream scoop, ladle or large cookie dough scoop to fill each cupcake wrapper about 2/3 full. Rap each pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean – 20 minutes. If your oven is a little wonky, like ours, rotate the cupcake tins after 14 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from tins & let cool completely on a wire rack.

Frosting recipe credit: Wilton’s Cupcake Fun (p. 101)

Silky Smooth Vanilla Buttercream

Ingredients
1 stick butter, softened

½ cup vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar (approx. 1 pound)
2 tablespoons milk

Steps
1) In a large bowl, beat (or “cream”) shortening and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

2) Add vanilla, mix well.

3) Note: I hate sifting but trust me, you must. It’s important that you sift the confectioner’s sugar BEFORE you measure it (or you’ll end up adding too much sugar to your frosting & it will be a little too stiff/sweet). Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed; scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar is mixed in, frosting will appear dry. Add milk; beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

4) Have fun decorating! As you can see, we love using pastry bags & decorative tips to add gobs of frosting. Oh, and when peanut butter buttercream is involved, Ollie is Head of QC (see photo below). 

ENJOY and happy Vanilla Cupcake Day! Wheeeee!

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