Posts Tagged ‘cupcakes’

It’s time for us to try another family’s favorite recipe. It might mean stepping out of our chocolate cake comfort zone because if you’re like me, you have your own favorite way of making chocolate cake and cupcakes. And your favorite frosting.

moist chocolate cake with lots of fudge frosting

Since I’m not much of a cake eater anyway, the only one I make is heavenly chocolate cake with snow frosting. It has Miracle Whip in it which keeps the cake nice and moist. My favorite frosting is the white, sticky, marshmallow-like frosting that we call snow frosting (you may know it as 7-minute frosting). But last fall at the Minnesota Blogger Conference, my friend Michelle shared with me her recipe for margarita cupcakes and we got to talking about chocolate cake. She told me that her family’s favorite is a chocolate cake that she makes with sour cream. The dense, fudgy frosting is her favorite part.

In the picture below, I baked a dozen in my tiny tart pan and piled three into a cupcake tower topped with shaved white chocolate and mini chocolate chips.

chocolate cake made in tiny tart pans

I was skeptical. Everyone thinks their chocolate cake is the moistest — kind of like how every fisherman thinks he guts and debones a fish better than anyone and that there are “no bones in fish that he cooks” but there are always bones. (My dislike for bones is reflected in Buffalo chicken dip for people who don’t like bones or blue cheese.)

The cupcakes were a hit! I brought them along on our Easter weekend to Minneapolis and the kids (and moms) ate them up. I actually liked the frosting better the second day so it was a perfect treat to bake and frost the day before we left. Thank you, Michelle Hals, for sharing your family favorite with us.

Cupcakes in the city

Chocolate cake with fudge frosting

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate (4 one-ounce squares)
1/4 cup butter
1-2/3 cups boiling water
2-1/3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a small saucepan over low heat melt chocolate, butter, and boiling water. Stir until melted and smooth. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.

In a small mixing bowl, beat eggs with a whisk and then whisk in the sour cream and vanilla until smooth.

Slowly add the melted chocolate mixture to the dry ingredient mixture. Stir until combined.

Now add the egg mixture to the cake batter and stir until silky smooth.

Pour into a 9×13-inch cake pan and bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes. You can also make two round cakes (bake for 35-40 minutes) or approximately 2-1/2 dozen regular cupcakes (bake 25 minutes).

The frosting is extremely generous so go crazy especially on the cupcakes!

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
1 (12-oz.) package semi sweet chocolate chips, melted
2-3 tablespoons milk

Over low heat, melt the chocolate chips. Set aside to cool slightly.

Beat shortening and butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Add vanilla. One cup at a time, add the powdered sugar. Once the chocolate is cooled a little (just make sure it’s not hot), pour into the frosting mixture. Add milk as needed to get to your desired spreading consistency. Frost the completely cooled cakes or cupcakes.


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Pull up a bar stool. Or an office chair. Maybe even a reclining Adirondack chair by the pool. Because no matter where you indulge in these margarita cupcakes, you’ll be transported to a dreamy beach lined with sandy towels and sun-baked flip-flops.

Just hope no one steps on a pop-top and has to head on back home.

If you like margaritas, you’ll enjoy these light little cakes spiked with tequila and a twist of lime. Top them with a generous helping of the tart, salty frosting and it’s like licking the rim of your icy margarita.

The recipe is new to me. A fellow blogger from the Minneapolis area, Michelle Hals, shared it with me at Minnesota Blogger’s Conference. The recipe comes from her parents who got it from her dad’s cousin when he made the treats for a high school reunion. Michelle just started a new blog at http://www.michellehals.com so stop by and say hi. She also blogs at http://shelbellescraps.blogspot.com.

Thank you for sharing this family recipe with us, Michelle.

I lovingly call Minneapolis the big city because I live on an acreage in southwest Minnesota. I used to live in the Twin Cities and I love it there.

Margarita Cupcakes

Makes 18 regular-size cupcakes with generous frosting for each.

1 box white cake mix

7-1/2 ounces original margarita mix

2 ounces tequila (or triple sec if you prefer)

1/2 ounce orange juice

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a medium bowl, add all ingredients and beat on medium-high until fluffy. If you prefer, use triple sec in place of the tequila. The important thing is to use a total of 10 ounces of liquid. Line a regular cupcake pan with papers or grease with non-stick spray. Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack.

Simple Lime Syrup (optional)

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know that I am not a huge fan of cupcakes because they aren’t usually as moist as I like. I found these cupcakes to be a little drier than I like, but an easy solution is to add the following simple syrup:

1 cup fresh lime juice

1 cup sugar

Combine the lime juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar completely dissolves. Bring it to a boil and continue to boil for 3-5 minutes until it becomes a golden color. Cool. Poke holes in the cupcakes with a toothpick. Using a pastry brush, generously brush the syrup over the tops of the cupcakes. Let soak in for 10 minutes and then frost the cupcakes.

Salty Lime Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

5 cups powdered sugar

3-4 tablespoons lime juice (use 3 and add more if needed for spreading consistency)

1/2 teaspoon salt

couple dashes of green food coloring if desired

In a medium bowl, cream the butter. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the lime juice and salt, beating until desired spreading consistency. Add small amount of green food coloring if desired.

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Do you like your margarita rim salty or sweet?

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Two things inspired me to create these extra moist, richly decadent cupcakes — old-fashioned, glass-bottle black cherry soda and chic & stylish cupcake papers.

I found the Olde Brooklyn Brighton Beach Black Cherry Soda at a HomeGoods® in Minneapolis. I love drinking ice-cold soda from a glass bottle. Who knows if it really tastes better or if it’s just the sentimental feeling it sparks when you pop the cap off.

The stylish cupcake liners were given to me by Sutton Gourmet Paper. I was excited to try them because the company claims that the papers keep their color and design even after baking chocolate cupcakes in them. They are right! As you can see in my photos, the liners look just as pretty after I baked the cupcakes. Thank you, Natalie!

Cupcakes are *rock stars* of the bakery world right now (although getting a run for their sugar from the current pie craze), but I’ve never really been a big fan of them. They are often dry with a big glob of frosting on top. But these are moist with the perfect balance of chocolate and black cherry flavor infused in the cupcake and frosting.

Black Cherry Soda Cupcakes

Makes 24-28 cupcakes

1 package chocolate cake mix (for 9×13 pan)

1/2 cup cocoa

3 eggs

1-1/3 cup black cherry soda

1 teaspoon cherry extract

1 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing

1/2 cup cherry flavored baking morsels, finely chopped or ground—I used my cheese grater to finely grind the chips into tiny shavings

Let’s bake!

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed until blended. Fill cupcake liners* 2/3 full. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting. Store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator.

*Note: I used square cupcake pans.

Black Cherry Soda Frosting

8 ounces cold cream cheese

5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

2 teaspoons cherry extract

1 teaspoon black cherry soda

2 to 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and butter with a mixer just until blended. Be sure the cream cheese is cold and the butter is at room temperature. Add the cherry extract and the black cherry soda. Add 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar at a time and beat just until smooth. Add more/less powdered sugar and black cherry soda until you get your desired frosting consistency.

What’s your favorite glass-bottle soda?

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I’ve been excited for this day to come since I signed up to post a recipe and a cancer awareness story at Frosting for the Cause. Although no one ever wants to see a friend struggle with cancer, I was honored to write my friend, Paulette’s story of hope; appropriately titled, “It’s Okay to be Freaked Out”.

Please take a few minutes to read Paulette’s story and learn about the project. The post also includes my recipe for Chocolate Mint Mascarpone Cupcakes.

You may also enjoy reading some of my favorites on the site from January and February: Doves of Hope by Frosting for the Cause’s founder and administrator, Paula Kelly-Bourque; sugar-rimmed  margarita cookies in Julie’s *Margarita* Sugar Cookies; lovely chocolate and peanut butter combo in Stephanie’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie! Pies; you will never forget these cigarette cookies in Callye’s *Nanny’s* Pecan Sandie Roll-Outs; a story that will touch your heart and make you cry in Amanda’s Chocolate Orange Sugar Cookies; a lot of detail in Robyn’s *Angry Birds* and *Thank You* Sugar Cookies; beautiful Nancy’s Ribbon Cookies with Butterfly Transfers; be inspired by this baker who is truly baking a difference in  Jen’s Black Forest Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting; and the coolest pink camouflaged cookies in Callye’s Camo Ribboned Cookies.

I hope this day finds you in good health, in good hands and in the hearts and minds of your family and friends. Go pink!


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Okay, so it might be the longest name for a cupcake but they deserve it. Most of these went directly to a Habitat for Humanity party, right along with their BFFs, Heavenly Chocolate Cupcakes with Snow Frosting. I didn’t attend the party so I don’t know which flavor was the biggest hit of the party. The two were so good that I wanted to cut them each in half and put them side by side to make one cupcake. Who am I kidding? I would just eat two. Enjoy all you butterscotch lovers out there! 

{Triple Butterscotch Cupcakes with Butterscotch Maple Frosting}


1 package (18.25 ounces) plain butterscotch cake mix (I can’t find butterscotch cake mix in my grocery store so I use a box of yellow cake mix and add one 3.4 oz. package of butterscotch instant pudding mix) 

1 package (3.4 ounces) butterscotch instant pudding mix

1 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the butterscotch maple frosting:

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

4 Tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, softened

2 to 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring

1/2 cup melted butterscotch chips, slightly cooled

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners or grease 24 cupcake cups. Blend on medium speed the cake mix, pudding mixes, water, oil, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Spoon batter into cupcake cups, filling each cup 3/4 full. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick or cake tester comes out clean or until cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes and then remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

Prepare frosting: Blend the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer. Add two cups of the powdered sugar, a little at a time, blending with mixer until all the sugar is well incorporated.  Add the maple flavoring and the melted butterscotch chips and mix on medium speed until the frosting is fluffy. Add the additional 1/2 cup as desired for spreading consistency. Spread on cooled cupcakes.

This recipe is from Anne Byrn’s Cupcakes! From the Cake Mix Doctor.

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Cupcakes are cool. They are a nice size for individual servings, great for bringing to kids’ parties at school, adorable to look at and dress up with sparkly sugars and they are currently all the craze on the “cake walk.” But they are still cake. And if the cake isn’t good, the frosting is the only thing good about them and to me, that’s a waste of calories. It’s pretty important to start with a cupcake that’s delicious on its own. You want to make cupcakes that are so good that when you add frosting to them—well, it’s just icing on the cake. 


When I volunteered to bring six dozen cupcakes to a Habitat for Humanity party last week, I knew this would be one of the flavors. (The other flavor was Triple Butterscotch with Butterscotch Maple Frosting.) The chocolate cake recipe was given to me about 15 years ago. I like this basic recipe because of its deep chocolate flavor and because it’s the moistest cake I’ve ever tasted. The Snow Frosting is a family recipe from my mom. She’s made this frosting for as long as I can remember and then I started making it once I had kids. My mom always knew when I was going to make Snow Frosting because I would borrow her double boiler. Now that my sweet, someday-to-be- mother-in-law, Marie, gave me one for Christmas last year, my mom won’t have to know how often I make it. Which means I may actually be able to surprise HER with this dreamy, sticky treat for once.

{Heavenly Chocolate Cupcakes}

1 package chocolate cake mix

1/2 cup cocoa

3 eggs

1  1/3 cups water

1 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing

Combine all ingredients. Beat on medium speed until blended. Pour into greased 13×9 inch pan. Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes. For cupcakes, pour into greased cupcake pan or use paper liners. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting. Makes one 13×9 inch cake, two 9-inch round cakes or 24 cupcakes.

{Snow Frosting}

1 egg white

3/4 cup sugar

dash of salt

3 Tablespoons water

1 tsp light corn syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla

In a small double boiler mix egg white, sugar, salt, water and syrup. Cook over boiling water, beating with an electric hand mixer 4 minutes or until frosting will stand in stiff peaks. Remove from heat. Beat in vanilla. (Double the recipe for a layer cake or for more than 24 cupcakes.) Can also substitute almond extract or another flavoring for the vanilla.

What’s your favorite go-to cake recipe?


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