Sunday, August 3, 2014

Chocolate Cupcakes + Vanilla Buttercream Frosting


As a companion to the previously made s'mores cupcakes, for the family members who are picky about their cupcake flavors, I made our family favorite of Hersey chocolate cupcakes. For frosting, I decided to try a recipe for vanilla buttercream.

As the s'mores cupcakes were baking, I turned my attention to the chocolate ones. The original recipe created 24 cupcakes, but I didn't need nearly that many, so I halfed the recipe, meaning the ingredient amounts in the pictures will be half to what they actually would be in the original recipe. Just as with the s'mores cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350F and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl, stir together 2 cups of sugar, 1 3/4 cups of flour, 3/4 cup Hershey's cocoa, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of salt.
Unmixed dry ingredients
All nicely mixed and glorious
After that, you need to add 2 eggs, 1 cup of milk, 1/2 cup vegetable (I used canola) oil and 2 teaspoons of vanilla to your dry ingredients. Beat that with a mixer (sadly, I had to use a hand-held mixer this time) for 2 minutes.
I'm not certain if this photo is just the previous step or the next one, but just use it for both just in case
The last step of creating the batter is to mix in 1 cup of boiling water. The batter will be quite thin afterwards, don't worry.
Finished thin batter; how fun!
Separate the batter, hopefully cleanly, into the 12 prepared muffin tins. If it wasn't clean, I would recommend that you just clean up the tin with a tissue to ensure that you don't have any little burned cupcake bits.
I am quite a messy person 
So clean, so beautiful
Nicely divided cupcake batter
Next, put the cupcakes into the oven for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the largest one comes out clean. Then, just take them out of the oven and cool inside the tin for 10 minutes. Take them out from the tin after that and let them cool on wire racks.
Lovely baked cupcakes
Such a nice close up shot of the cupcakes
After the cupcakes were completed, now it was time to make the vanilla buttercream. I used a recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen, which I found using some googling. Previously, when I've made vanilla buttercream, I hadn't whipped it enough which meant that, while it still tasted good, the sugar and the butter seperated after being put and removed from the fridge.
To start this recipe, which I actually succeeded in making, you will need to beat 1 stick of room temperature butter using a whisk attachment for 1 minute. I would recommend chipping your butter into smaller pieces before you start, as I did after that first picture.
Failing with my first attempt to whisk butter
Look at that beautiful successfully whipped butter
Then, you need to mix 1 cup of powdered sugar with the butter to combine. Be careful, as powdered sugar is known to burst up in a cloud when you try to mix it. That's why I was thankful for such a large bowl!
Mid whisking of the powdered sugar and butter
Add 1 tablespoon of milk and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Beat that on a higher speed for 4-5 minutes, or until the frosting is "impossibly light and fluffy". Be certain to scrape down the bowl as needed.
Finished tasty frosting
Look at those nice peaks
Once I had finished the frosting, I decided to try piping little swirls on top of the cupcakes. There wasn't enough frosting for the classic cupcake swirls, but I was able to do adorable little swirls using a sandwich bag with a tip cut off the end. It was my first time piping on cupcakes, but it was quite a lot of fun and I liked the finished picture.
Notice the lovely rainbow nailpolish?
Finally, I added a piece of Hershey's chocolate to the top of each of the cupcakes to add even more chocolate to them. Two of the swirls didn't succeed, so I just spread them flat. And the cupcakes were finished!
What a lovely little swirl
What a lovely collection of cupcakes
The cupcakes were lovely and moist (I only had half of one). There were many compliments on them, as well as on the frosting. We had to refrigerate some of the frosting for a later use, and it defrosted nicely. The cupcakes themselves freeze and defrost beautifully, so they're fine to save for over a week before you actually want to use them. I would recommend making the frosting on the day you're going to eat them, as it was safer to do that rather then trying to let it sit out or microwave.
Here's the link to the recipe for the chocolate cupcakes, but I'll include the ingredient list below.
And here's the link to the frosting recipe. The link includes a lot of other recipes for different types of buttercream, so I recommend you check it out. But the ingredients for the vanilla will be below.

Spoonful of Sugar from,
Your Friendly Teenage Baker

Hershey's chocolate cake ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup Hershey's cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable (I used canola) oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
Vanilla buttercream ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Graham Cracker S'Mores Cupcakes


One of the things I've been bugging my parents about for months now (honestly, ever since January) is that I wanted to make s'mores. I love the summer treat, but we never had the cause to actually make them/buy the materials. However, that changed when my mother came into my room one Saturday and handed me a recipe she had found in a Real Simple magazine.
"Make this," she told me. I was extremely eager to do so, as cupcakes are some of the things I most love baking/decorating. Combining my love of cupcakes with my desire for s'mores, there was no way these cupcakes weren't being made.
The basis of these cupcakes, made in honor of some cousins coming from up North to visit, is a simple graham cracker cupcake. First, preheat your oven to 350F and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
Next comes the batter. To make that, you must have 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs, which is, approximately, 9 crackers if you're grinding it yourself, as I was. With my mother's knowledge of how to use our food processor, I finely ground the crackers into crumbs.
Look at those glorious graham cracker crumbs
Then, whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, 1 cup of flour, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a medium bowl. That is your dry ingredients done.
Unmixed dry ingredients
The power of the whisk has been applied
Beat one stick of butter and 3/4 cups of sugar together on medium high until light and fluffy. That should take you approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
Make certain the butter is room temperature
Nice and fluffy
On that same speed, beat in the 2 eggs one at a time and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Be certain to scrape down the bowl as needed.
Looks so delicious
Reduce your mixer speed to low and, alternatively, add in the dry ingredients and the 3/4 cups of milk. Be certain to begin and end with the dry ingredients and mix well between each of your additions. But only mix until just combined. Mine ended up with a few larger chunks of the graham cracker crumbs, which created a nice appearance.
So thankful for the stand mixer
And the batter is completed!
(I can attest to the fact the batter alone tastes good)
Then it's on to dividing the batter among the muffin cups. The batter wasn't liquidy, which meant it was easily divided between the 12 muffin tins.
The batter was nicely divided about into 3/4 of the muffin cup
Look how nice, neat and equal it divided
Be certain to bake them on the middle rack of your oven, rotating once, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake (I recommend your largest if there's a size difference) comes out clean. In total, that should take about 20 to 24 minutes.
Look; my reflection with the baking cupcakes
Mid baking of the cupcakes
Then, cool in the tin for 10 minutes, but then transfer then to a wire rack to cool completely.
Chilling in the tin
Such an artistic shot of delicious cupcakes
After that, all that's left is to prepare the ganache and melt the marshmallow toppings. I don't have any pictures of the ganache making, as it was done with the assistance of my cousin with baking experience, but I can still dictate what was done.
Bring 1/3 of a cup of heavy cream (we used whipping cream) to a boil. Once it's boiled, remove from the heat and add 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate. Let that sit for 5 minutes before whisking to combine. Originally, we tried to use Hersey's milk chocolate, but quickly realized we had misread the packaging and had far too little chocolate, creating a slight disaster as we inadvertently created hot chocolate. Thankfully, due to how many chocolate chip bags we have lying about in the kitchen, we were able to find a bag of the correct chocolate and added it until the ganache became ganache again.

The marshmallows went more smoothly. Place 12 large marshmallows, the classic s'more ones, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Be certain they're a bit apart so that they don't stick together. Bake them on the top rack, we just kept it at 350F, until golden and deflated. That should take about 6 to 10 minutes. Then just let them cool and then you're ready to assemble.
Convenient oven marshmallow roasting
Once everything has cooled, but the ganache isn't set, divide the ganache among the 12 cupcakes and top each with one of the toasted marshmallows. You can either let them sit until firm to the touch (15 to 20 minutes), or eat them immediately, which is what we did.
Success!
Beautiful shot of bitten cupcake
Despite the disaster with making the ganache, the cupcakes still came out delicious. The graham cracker cupcakes didn't take a lot like graham crackers, so perhaps I would add a few little bits of graham cracker at the end if I made them again, just to see if they got a stronger flavor. Or I would add a few more crumbs in the actual batter (we had some left over, so it would be easy to do).

The cupcakes were refrigerated for about a week and a half, and I can attest they were still good, though the cupcake did become more muffin-like in texture. The ganache and the marshmallow, however, made up for that.

Give these cupcakes a try! Here's a link to the online version of the recipe, but I will include the ingredient list after the signature.

Hugs from,
Your Friendly Teenage Baker

Cupcake ingredient list:
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 9 crackers)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk
Chocolate ganache ingredient list:
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream (we used light whipping cream)
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Toasted marshmallow ingredient list:
  • 12 large marshmallows

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Teenage Baker

I thought it'd be best to open this blog up by saying that yes, I am a teenager. I'm in high school and spend quite a lot of my time sitting around on the internet looking up recipes I want to try. Many of the channels I'm subscribed to on YouTube are baking channels. I beg my parents to buy me the supplies I need and, when they actually do, I hurry to try my hardest to use them.
So, I believe it's fair to say I have an interest in baking. It's not a professional interest, as my major goal in life is to become a writer, but I let it take up quite a bit of my time.
My mother posed this crazy idea of creating a blog at dinner last night, after I commented about how I wanted to try a recipe for French bread pizza I wanted to try. I decided to give it a try, since I needed something productive to do this summer besides writing fanfiction.
Most of the recipes I'm going to be trying are ones I find online, but I'll be able to give you an actual account of how the recipes work (or don't work). Hopefully this will be an amusing ride for everyone involved.

Love from,
Your Friendly Teenage Baker