Valentine’s Cuteness

cupcake in a jarAh. Valentine’s Day is near. I know this because I have made two batches of Red Velvet Cupcakes in the last two days.  Also because of all the pink and red everywhere you look.

Love. Umm, speaking of love, I am in love with these cute little Valentine’s treats from Mini Baker. So so cute.

Image also from Mini Baker.

 

 

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Chocolate Nutella Cupcakes

These aren’t a traditional Thanksgiving dessert…however if you make them, they will quickly be moved to the top of everyone’s list of things to be thankful for. I’m only kind of kidding.

The first time I ever heard the word Nutella, was six years ago when I was in a village in Uganda, Africa. We were sitting around the morning campfire having a delightful breakfast with pineapple, g-nuts and chipote. Chipote is a flatbread and is one of the most amazing things I have ever tasted. Nutella at it’s finest, that is a promise.

Six years later, in the baking world, this decadent chocolaty hazelnut spread is super trendy and finding its way into recipes everywhere.

Chocolate Nutella Cupcakes

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup oil
1/8 cup Nutella
1 1/2 cups hot water
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 24 muffin cups with liners (or 12 jumbo muffin cups). Mix ingredients with an electric mixer in a bowl until you get a thin batter. Pour batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Nutella Buttercream from My Baking Addiction

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 13-ounce jar of Nutella (or the delightful Jiff version of Nutella…it is a 14.1 ounce jar)
pinch of fine grain sea salt
1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract
1.5 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
6-8 tablespoons milk

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and Nutella until well combined, thick and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Slowly add in confectioner’s sugar, and continue mixing until well blended.

Add salt, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of milk. Blend on low speed until moistened. Add an additional 3-5 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk until you reach the desired consistency. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cupcakes

We enjoy Cinnamon Toast Crunch in our household (yes I know it is a sugary cereal, but it is so yummy). When I came across these Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cupcakes from BS in the Kitchen, I knew I had to try them. The real question is Can you eat these for breakfast?

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cupcakes

1 French Vanilla or white cake mix

1/2 cup melted butter

3 tsp vanilla

3 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup water

1 tbsp cinnamon

Brown sugar to top cupcakes

Pour your batter into cupcake liners and bake for 13-15 minutes at 350ºF. Once a tooth pick comes out clean, set aside and allow the cupcakes to cool before icing. While letting them cool you can start making your icing.
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Frosting
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1 1/2 cups butter (room temperature)
1 3/4 cup cinnamon toast crunch cereal crumbs (run through a food processor)
5 tsp vanilla
4-5 cups icing sugar
2 tbsp condensed milk
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
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Mix all the ingredients together until you get a desired consistency. After icing the cupcakes, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (which is just equal parts cinnamon to sugar), and top with a Cinnamon Toast Crunch square, place in mouth and enjoy! The recipe makes roughly 24 cupcakes.

Black Forest Cupcakes

My friend Belinda had a pretty special birthday on Sunday, so I wanted to make her a birthday dessert. I know a couple things about my friend, she likes cherries and she likes chocolate…so I thought I would try Black Forest Cupcakes. As I began searching for a great black forest cake or cupcake recipe, I couldn’t really find exactly what I had in mind. What I did find was lots (not all) of recipes using cherry pie filling. That is a travesty. So I set out to make a delightful black forest cupcake with real cherries.

Chocolate Cupcakes
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup oil
1 1/2 cups hot water
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 24 muffin cups with liners (or 12 jumbo muffin cups). Mix ingredients with an electric mixer in a bowl until you get a thin batter. Pour batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
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Cherry Filling
2 cups bing cherries, pitted and cut in half
1/2 cup sugar
Combine pitted cherries and sugar in a medium saucepan and heat over low heat (10 – 15 minutes). Stirring occasionally. Once cherries have softened and created juice, remove from heat and cool. Remove center of cupcakes with a spoon. Spoon cherry filling into cupcake centers. Reserve 2 tablespoons of cherry juice and keep in sauce pan for ganache.
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Chocolate Cherry Ganache 
Reserved cherry juice
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 Tablespoon whipping cream
Add 8 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate to reserved cherry juice in sauce pan. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly until chocolate is melted. Once chocolate is melted, remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon whipping cream. Stir until smooth. Once ganache has cooled, pour over tops of cupcakes and let cool.
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Whipped Cream
2¼ cups heavy cream, chilled
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
After ganache has set on cupcake tops, chill bowl and whisk attachment of an electric mixer in the freezer for 10 minutes.  Place the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whip on medium-low speed at first, gradually increasing to high speed.  Blend in the confectioners’ sugar gradually.  Whip until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over-beat.  Use a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip to frost the cooled cupcakes.
Top with a cherry and chocolate shavings.

Chocolate Cupcakes & Peanut Butter Buttercream

I made these cupcakes to celebrate a good friend’s birthday today, and try and lovingly persuade him and his wonderful wife to buy a house within yelling distance of ours…I thought I would try and sweeten the deal. I am not really sure if it worked or not, but I am really happy they got to close on their house today! Congrats Aaron & Lindsay!
Chocolate Cupcakes
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup oil
2 cups hot water
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 24 (or 12 jumbo cups) muffin cups with liners. Mix ingredients with an electric mixer in a bowl until you get a thin batter. Pour batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Peanut Butter Buttercream
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk
In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add peanut butter and vanilla. 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. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

I have been terrible about blogging lately. My apologies. I don’t have a really good excuse, it is a combination of a new baby, summer activities as a family and a few trips to the lake. I still have been baking and trying lots of new recipes…mostly from pintrest…and mostly dinner recipes to be honest.

We still have a lot of zucchini from our garden, so here is another zucchini recipe. I am excited that we are starting to have some red tomatoes, we used some for dinner tonight!

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Adapted from Taste of Home

1-1/4 cups butter, softened

1-1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup baking cocoa (I used a little cocoa and a few squares melted semi-sweet chocolate…delish)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cup grated zucchini

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with yogurt, beating well after each addition. Fold in zucchini and carrots.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Frost cupcakes. Yield: 21 cupcakes.

Chocolate Buttercream
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3 squares melted semi-sweet chocolate
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk
In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add chocolate and vanilla. 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. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.