Archive for the 'cupcakes' Category

30
Aug
10

Zucchini Zombies

“Lock your door” advises my little old lady and gardener extraordinaire next-door-neighbor.  “Don’t answer the door during zucchini harvest.”  Why not?  Are there Zucchini Zombies that I am unaware of?  Will they be shuffling down the middle of the street, lugging baskets full of the dreaded green phallic vegetable?  Will they be scratching and thudding  their grubby dead hands on our doors and windows trying to force us to eat our vegetables? 

Well, all I’m sayin’ is, if you hear something mucking about on your front porch, you best answer the door.  Yours truly, Vampire Gran, could be standing there with a tray of these: 

 

I have admitted in the past to zucchini being one of my least favorite vegetables and now I am literally eating my words.  Or at best, I am eating the zucchini from our garden.  Oh, I am fixing it in healthy ways for meals, but I just can’t help adding sugar and chocolate to it and baking it into something delectable, like these Chocolate Zucchini Walnut cupcakes. 

Dude, look at these things!  They are so moist and oh, so bitable! 

Lick the frosting. Lick it, I say!

Go to this post, Vampire Gran’s Perfect Chocolate Cake and get the recipe for the cupcake base, then add 2 cups of shredded zucchini and 1 cup of chopped walnuts.  Line your muffin pan with cupcake papers, scoop in the batter about 3/4 full and bake at 350 degrees for 23 minutes.  Toothpick inserted into the center of cake should come out clean when done.  Cool on rack.   They are the perfect foil for cream cheese frosting.  

Now, here’s another “grate” way to use zucchini.  Today I made some savory muffins to enjoy with our Sunday brunch on the deck.  Look at this plate and tell me it doesn’t make you just a little bit hungry. 

Now, that’s a healthy brunch

I whipped up a tofu scramble using fresh tomatoes, peppers and leeks from our garden.  The yellow stuff is polenta with butter and pure maple syrup drizzled over the top, a bit of sweet cantaloupe and a zucchini basil muffin. 

Very similar to a popover, but more sturdy

  

ZUCCHINI BASIL MUFFIN 

2 cups all purpose flour 

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 

1 teaspoon salt 

2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped 

2 eggs, slightly beaten 

1 cup buttermilk 

3 oz butter, melted 

2 medium zucchini, shredded 

1/4 cup chopped walnuts 

Sift flour, baking soda and salt into large mixing bowl.  Add basil and mix.  Make a well in the center of the bowl.  Combine eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and zucchini in another bowl.  Pour zucchini mixture into the well and mix just until all of the dry is incorporated with the wet ingredients.  Batter will be lumpy. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Either grease a 12 cup muffin pan well, or use paper liner.  Evenly divide your batter among the twelve cups.  Top with chopped walnuts.   Bake for 18-20 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool for about 5 minutes before enjoying. 

Well, I better be shuffling off now.  I’ve got a basket I need to haul down the street.  Oh, what do vegetarian zombies eat?  GRAAAAAINS!

My GranSon - cute, ain't he?

23
Sep
09

Vampire Gran’s Perfect Chocolate Cake

Perfect Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes

Perfect Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes

I received a comment on my last post asking for my Chocolate Cupcake recipe.  I like to share and am pleased to pass this recipe on to my blog fans and followers.

Vampire Gran’s Perfect Chocolate Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

.75# AP flour

.75# granulated sugar

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 Tbsp baking soda

1/2 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1/2 tbsp vanilla

3/4 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup HOT strong coffee

Sift over mixing bowl flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  Using an electric mixer, add oil and mix.  It will be a dry paste.  Stir eggs and vanilla together and add to the mixing bowl.  Mix in buttermilk.  Scrape bowl often.  Carefully and slowly, add hot coffee, a small amount at a time.  The batter will be very thin.  Be sure the bowl is well scraped and all of the solids have mixed in smoothly.

Using a 1/4 cup disher, portion out into paper lined cupcake pans.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 23 – 25 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

Makes approximately 24 medium cupcakes.

21
Sep
09

Fall Themed Cupcakes

Today is the final day of summer. With a touch of fall in the air this morning, I decided to start working on some cupcake ideas.   The chocolate cake recipe that I use domes really big.  These cupcakes work perfectly for little pumpkins.  What do you think?

Chocolate cupcakes dressed in pumpkin costumes

Chocolate cupcakes dressed in pumpkin costumes

Tell me if you want a step by step tutorial.  Otherwise, I’ll just keep working on new ideas.  Fall forward!

21
Sep
09

Chocolate Cake with Hazelnut Frosting

This past week, a co-worker ordered a cake from me.  It was for her Grandmother’s birthday party.  Both Katie (the co-worker) and her mother LOVE my hazelnut frosting.  So do I!  They also love chocolate.  This hazelnut frosting and buttermilk chocolate cake are perfect together.  The light, sweetness of the frosting with the dense, dark chocolate of the cake are a match made in dessert heaven.  Here is a picture of Grandma Elsie’s cake.

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with Hazelnut Frosting

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with Hazelnut Frosting

The chocolate leaves were simple to make.  I went into my garden, picked some raspberry leaves, coated them in melted dark chocolate, let them sit in the freezer until firm and gently pulled the “real” leaves off.  Make sure you use leaves that are not sprayed or poisonous!

Of, course, as always with me, I had left over cake batter and frosting so I made a few things for my spouse to bring to her job.  I only had enough frosting left over for one cupcake after frosting three individual cakes and I sprinkled them with toasted hazelnuts.

Same cake, different presentation

Same cake, different presentation

I used the same Vanilla Frosting recipe that is in my Elephant Cupcake post and added 1/2 cup hazelnut paste to it.  You may be wondering where to buy hazelnut paste.  Well, it can be tricky to find.  I would suggest calling some upscale foodie markets and shops first.  If they don’t carry it in your area, go online and order it.  There are a lot of sites that sell it, just Google hazelnut paste.  Or you can try making your own.  If you have a Champion juicer, just toast the hazelnuts and put them through using the homogenizing method. 

Well, I am back to the kitchen to work on more goodies to share with you!

04
May
09

Elephant Cupcakes

I had a lot of fun making cupcakes for a special 3 year old girl’s birthday party.  The party’s theme was “Zoo Animals” and all of the children were going to be wearing animal costumes.  The birthday girl’s costume was an elephant.  Her parents ordered 2 ½ dozen cupcakes for the party and left the decorating up to me.  I decided to make individual elephant head cupcakes.  The pictures I took do not do them justice – they looked better in person.  But I just had to share them with my blog fans because they were pretty cute.

Vanilla Frosting

 

1.5 # unsalted butter, softened

2# powdered sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp vanilla

2 oz water (approximately ¼ cup)

1 tsp lemon juice

I used Wilton Brand Icing Color Black to make the frosting elephant grey.  Using a toothpick, add small amounts to the frosting until it reaches the desired color.

Here are step by step instructions on how I made the cupcakes transform into elephants

Start with a blank cupcake, frosting, pastry bags and pastry tips #804 & #124

Start with a blank cupcake, frosting, pastry bags and pastry tips #804 & #124

Using tip #804, starting on the outside edge pipe frosting in circular motion moving toward the center

Using tip #804, starting on the outside edge pipe frosting in circular motion moving toward the center

Beginning in the center, using even pressure, squeeze bag and move your hand slightly up and down and pulling toward your self and down, swirling up to the right when you reach the edge of the cupcake, creating the trunk

Beginning in the center, using even pressure, squeeze bag and move your hand slightly up and down and pulling toward your self and down, swirling up to the right when you reach the edge of the cupcake, creating the trunk

Use chocolate chip for eyes.  I used bitterweet chocolate chips that were flat.  If you use the chips that come to a point, place the point side down into the frosting.

Use chocolate chip for eyes. I used bittersweet chocolate chips that were flat. If you use the chips that come to a point, place the point side down into the frosting.

Using the #124 tip, start at the top of the head where you think the ear starts and pipe sideways using a ruffling motion.  This is a bit tricky, you just have to practice it until you get a feel for it.

Using the #124 tip, start at the top of the head where you think the ear starts and pipe sideways using a ruffling motion. This is a bit tricky, you just have to practice it until you get a feel for it.

There it is, your first elephant cupcake!

There it is, your first elephant cupcake!

Place your elephants on a baking tray and let them chill in the refrigerator until the icing is set before packing or placing on your serving platter

Place your elephants on a baking tray and let them chill in the refrigerator until the icing is set before packing or placing on your serving platter

There they are, ready for the party!

There they are, ready for the party!

 

I hope you enjoyed today’s lesson.  If you have any questions or need a good cake recipe, please leave me a comment and I will be happy to help.




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