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Posts tagged ‘cupcakes’

Last year I was lucky enough to attend Charlie Palmer’s Pigs & Pinot event in Healdsburg. If you don’t know about Pigs & Pinot, it’s a weekend long charity event that’s devoted to pinot noir and pork. While it lasts all weekend, hubby and I only attended the Taste of Pigs and Pinot which is a night dedicated to tasting 60 different pinot noirs and the delicious pork tidbits to go with them. They had everything from roasted pork loin to grilled pork chops. But they didn’t just have appetizers and main courses dedicated to the pig. Every dessert that was presented also had some semblance of the swine attached to it.  There was chocolate covered bacon, bacon chocolate chip cookies and my favorite, Twinkies filled with a bacon bourbon cream. These little Twinkies were so delicious, I must’ve had at least half a dozen. I wanted to go back for more, but they disappeared quickly.

Anyway, they left such an indelible mark on my palate, I just had to try and recreate them; and what better time than a few weeks before Super Bowl Sunday. Why did I want to make them for the Super Bowl? Because if you’re having a party there’s going to be plenty of savory tidbits for people to munch. So why not add something sweet they can pop in their mouths when they’re done with the burgers and chili? And since there’s both bacon and bourbon involved, it’s really the perfect sports-themed dessert.

But as you can see from the photos I didn’t want to make Twinkies. They’re just too big to pop in your mouth while you’re watching the game. I thought it’d be easier to make mini-cupcakes. But just because they’re cupcakes doesn’t mean you can’t stuff them full of bacon, bourbon whipped cream. I mean Hostess did it. Well, without the bacon or bourbon but imagine how good those chocolate cupcakes would be if they did.  Hey, there’s an idea… But I digress.

These little morsels are the perfect size to grab one or two or three, pop ’em in your mouth, and take a swig of beer without missing a single play. So if you’re full up on chips, dips, and potato skins, add these sweet & salty cupcakes to your table. They’ll be gone before the end of the half.

Mini Vanilla Cupcakes with Bacon Bourbon Cream


For Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

For Bacon Bourbon Cream

  • 3-4 slices thick cut bacon
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

For Salted Caramel Frosting

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons smoked sea salt
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar


For Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray mini muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Whisk the flours, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
  3. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat, add the vanilla and set aside.
  4. Separate the eggs. Beat the egg whites on high speed until foamy. Gradually add 1/4 cup of sugar and the cream of tartar and continue to beat until the whites reach soft, moist peaks, set aside.
  5. Beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until the mixture is very thick and a pale yellow color, about 5 minutes. Add the beaten egg whites to the yolks, but do not mix. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the egg whites and then mix everything on low speed until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold the melted butter mixture into the egg mixture until everything is evenly mixed, about 15 strokes.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin and bake until the cake tops are light brown and spring back when touched, 12 to 15 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to cool for at least 10 minutes.

While the cupcakes bake make the Bacon, Bourbon Cream:

  1. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until nice and crispy, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel to drain.
  2. Pour the bacon grease, bourbon, whipping cream and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Beat on high until cream is stiff, about 5 minutes.

To fill the cupcakes:

  1. Once the cupcakes are cooled, take an apple corer and gently push it into the center of your cupcake. Rotate the corer a full 360 degrees and pull it out of the cupcakes. Remove the tiny cake round from the corer and repeat with the rest of the cupcakes. Make sure not to go all the way to the bottom of the cupcake as this will cause your filling to leak out.
  2. Pipe the bacon bourbon cream into each cupcake and frost with the Salted Caramel Frosting.

For the Frosting:

  1. Stir together sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and continue cooking, swirling pan occasionally, for 5 minutes until the mixture turns a dark amber color.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and slowly pour in the vanilla and cream. Stir until combined and smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 10-15 minutes.
  3. While the caramel cools, beat the salt and butter together in a large mixing bowl on high speed for about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add powdered sugar. Continue mixing until completely combined.
  4. Pour the caramel into the butter mixture and mix for another 3 minutes.
  5. Frost your cream-filled cupcakes and top each with a little piece of bacon. Serve immediately.

Note: If you’re rushing the day of the big game, and don’t have time to make these cupcakes, you can make the cupcakes, bacon bourbon cream and frosting all a day or two ahead. Then just assemble the day of the big game.

I hate going to the doctor’s office. Not because I don’t like seeing the doctor, but because I hate waiting to see the doctor.  See, whenever I have an appointment, I try to get there at least a few minutes early, that way if they’re ready for me when I’m actually scheduled, I’ll be there and they won’t skip me to go on to the next person.  Of course, they never call me at the specific time I’m supposed to be seen and inevitably I end up waiting… and waiting. It used to be torture because there were rarely any good magazines to read in the waiting room. But now that I’m scouring any and every magazine I can find for new and interesting recipes, I find  that these days I don’t mind waiting so much. I actually kinda like it because it gives me the chance to find a cool recipe and if I’m really discreet, tear it out so I can try it at home.

Well, it was during one of these interminable waits that I came across this recipe for cupcakes that look like corn on the cob. The original recipe was on the cover of Women’s Day. And I mean, look at the picture. Who wouldn’t want to recreate these cool looking cakes? Not only that, it finally gave me the opportunity to try and make brown butter.

I’ve wanted to make brown butter ever since I first read about brown butter cookies. But I’ve been avoiding it for quite some time because the few times I’ve tried to make it, my brown butter becomes burned butter.  But this recipe inspired me. I was determined to do it and do it well, and since the 4th of July is coming up, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to give brown butter one more try. And guess what? This time, my brown butter didn’t burn. It actually became what it was supposed to: brown.

Now you’re probably wondering what brown butter is. It’s just that, butter that has been cooked long enough to brown but not burn. And the key to brown butter is watching it. If you look away for a minute too long it will burn. So that’s the key, watching the butter cook and taking it off the heat as soon as it starts to turn color and acquire a nutty smell.

Once I had mastered the brown butter the rest of the cupcakes were easy. I just made cupcakes the way I’d made dozens of other cupcakes recipes. After they were baked and frosted, the hardest part was lining up all the jelly beans to look like rows of corn. But the time and effort it took lining up all those jelly beans was well worth the wait because they were just as yummy as any cupcake I’d made prior.

So for this 4th, instead of making corn on the cob to go with your fried chicken, why not make these corny cupcakes? You’ll have a side and a dessert all in one.

Corny Cupcakes


  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1-1/2 cups of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/4 cups whole milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt


  • 3/4 (1-1/2 sticks) of butter
  • 1 (16 ounce) box of powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 16 corn holders, assorted yellow and white jellybeans, and 4 yellow Starbursts

Heat oven to 350°F. Line 2 cupcake tins with yellow or white baking liners.

In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar together until they’re light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at time until combined. Add the milk and vanilla.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.

Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix until well combined. Divide the batter among the muffin cups and bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20-23 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

While the cupcakes bake, make the frosting. Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat and continue cooking, swirling the pan until the butter begins to brown and smell nutty, 4-5 minutes; remove from heat.

Using an electric mixer beat the browned butter, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

To decorate the cupcakes: work in batches of three at a time. Frost, then arrange rows of jelly beans close together on each cupcake. Place the cupcakes side by side on a plate or platter and insert the corn holders at each end so they resemble an ear of corn. Cut a Starburst horizontally in half and flatten one half slightly. Place flattened fruit chew on top of the “corn” to resemble a pat of butter.  Repeat with remaining cupcakes and serve.

This Giveaway is now closed.

A little over a month ago was A’s birthday.  He turned two. And since several of his friends all have birthdays around the same time, I and a couple of my mommy friends decided to share the party. After all, at the age of two, the party’s still kinda for the parents and this way A would be able to celebrate with his friends as opposed to missing their parties just to keep the parents and grandparents happy.

So the other moms and I decided to do a jungle themed party.  We got a tiger-shaped bounce house, jungle-themed party favors and made three jungle-themed cakes.  There was an alligator, a lion and a hippo made out of vanilla and chocolate cupcakes.  We thought cupcakes would be the best way to go since the party was at the park.  That way we didn’t need to bring a knife and everyone could just grab a cupcake and enjoy.

So while I won’t be giving you a recipe for cupcakes as there are plenty of them out there, what I will do is explain how you turn those plain chocolate and vanilla cupcakes into the hippo cake you see above. Even better, I’ll be giving away several items you’ll need to create this awesome cake thanks to Wilton.

See, I’ve been using Wilton products for awhile and absolutely love them. Not only are they insanely affordable, they work amazingly well.  My favorite has to be their frosting spatulas.  If you’re anything like me you know that while that rubber spatula or knife you’ve been using to frost cakes and cupcakes works fine, an angled frosting spatula works So. Much. Better!  So, since I’m such a huge fan of their products, Wilton gave me a whole cupcake kit worth about $125 to give away to one lucky Kitchy Cooking reader.

Here’s what you’ll get:

  • 2 cupcake tins
  • 1 set of measuring spoons
  • 1 set of measuring cups
  • The Ultimate 3 in 1 Cupcake Caddy
  • A cupcake stand that holds 23 cupcakes
  • A 13 inch frosting spatula
  • A 9 inch frosting spatula
  • A set of 75 colored baking cups
  • 12 16 inch disposable decorating bags
  • 3 decorating tips

So even if you’ve never made cupcakes before, this kit will have you whipping up a batch whether you have a birthday to celebrate or just want to make Monday night dinner a little extra special.

Here’s how you win: (Main entry required) This Giveaway is now CLOSED.

Go to Wilton’s site and peruse all their amazing baking items.  They do a lot more than just cupcakes.  Then come back here and tell me what you absolutely must have (other than the items shown here) to make your baking dreams come true.

Want extra entries?

Each item you do will get you one chance to win (for a total of five chances). If you already do any of these things they do count! So make sure to leave a separate comment for each item.

  1. Go like Wilton on Facebook.
  2. Go like Kitchy Cooking on Facebook.
  3. Follow @kitchycooker on twitter and tweet the following statement:   I just entered to win a cupcake baking set from @kitchycooker and Wilton. Have you?
  4. Subscribe to the Kitchy Cooking RSS feed.

The Fine Print

  • This giveaway is only open to residents of the 50 United States. (Sorry it’s a big package and shipping’s expensive!)
  • Giveaway will end on June 22, 2011 at 6 pm PST. One winner with a valid entry will be chosen via a random number generator at  The winner will then be notified via the e-mail they provide when they leave a comment.
  • Winner has until June 26th at 6 pm PST to claim their prize or I’ll pick another winner.

Now that I’ve laid out all the nitty gritty details, here’s what you’ve all been waiting for – How to make your Hippo Cupcake Cake.

Hippo Cupcake Cake

What you’ll need:

  • a board that’s at least 15×20 inches
  • tin foil
  • 48 cupcakes, your choice of flavor(s)
  • a large batch of homemade buttercream frosting
  • 3 mini chocolate donuts
  • 3 large marshmallows
  • 2 junior mints
  • 1 bag of Swedish gummy fish


  1. Take your board (I used a wooden cutting board) and wrap it in tinfoil.  This is where you’re going to put together your cake.
  2. Since the hippo’s floating in water you’re only going to see the top of the hippo’s body and its head.  So, for the hippo itself you’re going to need 20 whole cupcakes and 3 cupcake tops.  For the body of the hippo I made two rows of 4 cupcakes each and 1 row of three cupcakes.  For the head of the hippo I made three rows of 3 cupcakes each.  The back of the head where the ears and eyes are needs to be a little higher than the hippo’s snout, so I placed 1 cupcake top on top of each whole cupcake making the last row double decker cupcakes.
  3. Frost each cupcake with purple frosting, smoothing the frosting over the head so all the cupcakes look like 1 large cake.
  4. Cut 1 mini donut in half and place each half, cut side down, on the right and left sides of the top of the head to represent the hippo’s ears.
  5. Take the other two donuts and lay them flat on the right and left sides of the front of the hippo’s head to represent the hippo’s nostrils.
  6. Take two marshmallows and frost them into a cylinder with purple frosting for the eyes.  Make sure you leave the ends unfrosted.  Place the eyes on the head of the hippo between the donut ears and press two junior mints onto each end of the marshmallow cylinder to represent the pupils.
  7. Take the third marshmallow and cut it in half lengthwise.  Press the flat halves onto the front center of the hippo’s snout to represent the hippo’s teeth.
  8. Frost the rest of the cupcakes with blue and/or blue and white frosting. Surround the sides and rear of the hippo with these blue cupcakes to represent the water that the hippo’s floating in.
  9. Take as many gummy fish as you’d like to use and stick them in the blue frosted cupcakes so they look like they’re jumping out of the water around the hippo.
  10. If you have space on your serving platter and left over frosting, feel free to frost the board with blue frosting and add a few more fish.

Earlier this week I was lucky enough to be stung by a bee.  Well, maybe lucky isn’t the best word to describe the situation; unlucky’s probably a better choice because let me tell you, if you’ve never been stung by a bee, IT HURTS! But anyway… something struck my as I watched that bee’s life slip away. Although bees have a painful way of protecting themselves from danger, they also provide a wonderful ingredient for all us tea-drinkers: honey.

I’ve loved honey for as long as I can remember.  Whether it comes in a plastic bear or a jar, whether it comes from local wildflowers or across the sea, I can never get enough, no matter what form the honey takes.

Well, a little over a month ago I was at Camp Blogaway where I discovered a wonderful honey-based product: lemon honey crème from Honey Ridge Farms.  This product is so delectable it may become my go-to choice for which anything I would normally use honey.

Founded in 2004 by Leeanne Goetz, Honey Ridge Farms focuses on the creation of high-quality, all-natural specialty gourmet honeys and honey-based specialty foods, one of which is this wonderfully decadent lemon honey crème. After tasting it at Camp, I grabbed a couple extra jars to take home, determined to make something with it.  So, after much thought and several taste tests, I finally realized how I could use the crème (besides eating it by the spoonful), it would be delicious as a cupcake.

Since lemon and basil go so well together, I thought why not make some lemon cupcakes with the lemon honey crème hiding in the center. And the basil? That I turned into a thick buttercream with which to frost the tops.  The end result was more than I could hope for – a sweet & sour cupcake filled with thick & creamy lemon deliciousness that’s topped with a sweet and slightly spicy buttercream.  It’s a grown-up cupcake that absolutely screams summertime.

Lemon Honey Crème Cupcakes with Basil Frosting

For the Cupcakes

  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • lemon zest from 2 lemons
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 eggs
  • 2-1/4 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp + 5 ounces of lemon honey crème

Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare two cupcake tins with liners or non-stick cooking spray.

Place the sugar and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse until the sugar’s fragrant and light yellow in color.  Transfer sugar mixture to a large bowl and mix with the butter in a stand mixer on medium speed until the butter and sugar are very light, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time.

Meanwhile sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

Beat in one third of the flour mixture at medium speed.  Add half the buttermilk and continue beating until combined. Continue alternating between the flour mixture and buttermilk until they’re both incorporated.  Add the lemon honey crème and continue beating for another 2 minutes, until thoroughly mixed.

Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake tins and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

Once the cupcakes are cooled, hollow out a small circle in the center of each cupcake.  I used an apple corer, because it’s much easier than a knife or spoon.

For the Basil Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup crisco
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp dried basil leaves

Stir fresh basil and water together in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally and boil for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes.  Pour liquid through a mesh strainer into a container and discard basil leaves.  Set aside.

Combine crisco and butter in a large bowl and mix on medium speed in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Slowly add powdered sugar and mix until well blended.  Add 1-3 tablespoons of basil tea and dried basil leaves and mix until well combined.  Continue beating until frosting is smooth and fluffy.

Once you have the hollowed-out cupcakes and buttercream prepared, fill the centers with honey lemon crème and top with basil frosting.