Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes
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Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

You guys, there’s one day of classes standing between me and finals. What this means is there’s one day of classes and only two finals standing between me and summer break. IT’S ALMOST HERE. Mandatory summertime anthem:

I am beyond ready for this break. For some reason, most people think college summer breaks are for:

wiz khalifa no sleep gif

But really, my speed is more like:

Anyway, so I made these cupcakes. It took me a while to figure how I wanted to combine the factors of a classic strawberry cheesecake into a cupcake, but what I finally settled on was a plain white cake with a graham cracker crust, strawberry filling, and cream cheese frosting.

 

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

So I’m gonna go back to studying intermittently broken up with hours of video gaming, and you’re gonna go make these cupcakes. Good luck to all my readers who are winding up their school years with finals. May the force be with you.

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

 

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

Yield: ~24 Cupcakes    Prep Time: 1-1.5 Hours     Cooktime: 18-21 Minutes

Cake based on this recipe.

Graham Cracker Crust Ingredients:

  • 10 full size graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 sugar

Graham Cracker Crust Directions:

  1. Crush graham crackers into fine pieces. You can use a food processor, or do as I did and double bag them and go to town with a can of peas.
  2. Whisk sugar with graham cracker dust.
  3. Melt butter, then pour into graham cracker & sugar mixture. You should be able to clump it together in your hand.
  4. Put about 1 tablespoon into each muffin cup. Press to make a crust.

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cake Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. In largest bowl, cream together butter and shortening until fluffy with an electric mixer.
  3. Add sugar one cup at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each cup before adding another.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding another.
  5. In medium sized bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  6. Pour milks and vanilla into a separate small bowl and stir.
  7. Add dry ingredients to butter and shortening mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.
  8. Gently stir all ingredients until well combined. Be sure to mix all the ingredients together well.
  9. Fill tins about 3/4 full. This should be roughly 2 tablespoons.
  10. After baking, use a small knife or corer to remove a small dome of cake from each cupcake.

Strawberry Filling Ingredients:

  • Roughly 1 & 1/2 standard size (quart) strawberry container. (Possibly 1 if you don’t let half of them spoil from procrastination like I did)
  • 1/3 white sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Strawberry Filling Directions:

  1. Cut tops off strawberries and chop into smallish bits (you want them to fit inside the cupcake).
  2. Cook strawberries, sugar, and vanilla on medium-high heat for 15 minutes. Syrup should start forming.
  3. You can choose to puree half of the cooked strawberries, but it’s not necessary. This will give you a more jam like filling.
  4. Fill the cored cupcakes with the strawberry filling. Do not replace the cake on top of the strawberries, it’ll soak up all the syrup!

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

  • 2 8-oz packages softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 softened butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting Directions:

  1. Cream together cream cheese and butter.
  2. Add one teaspoon vanilla. Mix.
  3. Add powdered sugar. Add remaining teaspoon vanilla extract if desired.
  4. Frost cupcakes.

Dark Chocolate Red Wine Cupcakes
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Dark Chocolate Red Wine Cupcakes

Dark Chocolate Red Wine Cupcakes

Guess who’s back! After a brief hiatus due to you know, life, I’m finally back with a new post. The last few weeks have been busy, finishing my research project taking up the most time. In between that I’ve been volunteering at the campus Women’s Center, going on retreats with amazingly strong women, and travelling. In fact, last weekend I was in Savannah with beautiful people, new friends and old,  and man was it beautiful.

View from the Savannah Riverboat cruise.

View from the Savannah Riverboat cruise.

Anyway, of course when I was back on campus, my homework was there to greet me with open arms. So while I spent the first few days catching up, I’m definitely in responsibility avoidance mode now. Look at me deftly avoiding all my responsibilities:

The best ideas come from procrastibaking, and that’s how these cupcakes came about. About to start homework? Wine? Check. Chocolate? Check. Motivation? Let me get back to you on that.

Now go make these cupcakes and bask in your amazing poshness.

Dark Chocolate Red Wine Cupcakes

Dark Chocolate Red Wine Cupcakes

Yield: ~12 Cupcakes     Prep Time: 25 Minutes     Cooktime: 18-22 Minutes

Based on this recipe.

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 1/8 cups (141 g) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (35 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup milk (2% or higher, I used coconut milk, you can usually substitute it for whatever you have)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine (I used $12 cabernet. I’m cheap.)
  • 8 ounces of dark chocolate (I used 60% cacao Ghirardelli chips)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In largest bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.
  3. Line a cupcake tin with liners.
  4. In a smaller bowl, mix egg, oil and sugar until together until smooth. Add melted butter, red wine and vanilla. Mix well.
  5. Add half of the dry ingredients, mix well.
  6. Add the milk, then the remaining flour mixture. Mix well until smooth.
  7. Fold in chocolate bits. In your lined muffin pan, use a tablespoon or 1/4 cup to scoop your batter. Bake for 18 minutes, then check. If not done, bake for an additional 4 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

Red Wine Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons red wine
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. This will take at least 2 minutes.
  2. Add half of the powdered sugar. Mix until begins to come together.
  3. Add wine, vanilla, and remaining powdered sugar.
  4. If frosting is still too runny for your tastes, add powdered sugar 2 tablespoons at a time until it begins to come together.

 

Almond Amaretto Cupcakes
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Almond Amaretto Cupcakes

Almond Amaretto CupcakesHappy Valentine’s Day on March 2nd, everyone! Life got really busy for a while and these cupcakes didn’t happen until last week. I actually gave a presentation at Emory University last weekend and it was a great opportunity. But, let me tell you, you don’t want to be finishing your powerpoint presentation at 4 AM with your speech at 9 AM. It felt like this:

And the only time I won’t freak out before a speech is when I’m in my coffin getting ready to meet Jesus. Luckily, I’m really good at looking collected. But on the inside. . . I’m hyperventilating and likely hopped up on adrenaline, lack of sleep, and caffeine.

But! Everything went great and people asked questions after and I just generally didn’t feel like an idiot. So winning all around! Anyway, because of all that, there weren’t Valentine’s desserts for my friends until today. And because almond is a completely underrated flavor, I decided to go with almond cupcakes sweetened with yummy amaretto.

Almond Amaretto CupcakesNow, if your knowledge of liquor is as extensive as my own (none), you don’t know what the heck amaretto is or which one to buy. Well, I didn’t either, and I’m practically positive I got the most expensive kind possible. Amaretto is an Italian almond flavored liqueur (see, it’s fancy because it has an ‘eu’ and not an ‘o’), and I ended up buying Disaronno. I’m sure there’s a generic kind floating out there somewhere, so avoid dropping 25 bucks if you can. Plus, this stuff is really too sweet for me to drink by itself, so don’t spend too much.

That being said, these may be my favorite flavor of cupcakes I’ve made so far. Of course, since I live on a dry campus, these were most definitely made off campus. . . most definitely. Now when you bake them, they’re really delicate, so you’re gonna want to be careful with them. Also, I felt these cupcakes needed lots of frosting, so the recipe makes quite a bit, but if that’s not something you’re interested in, feel free to halve the recipe.

Almond Amaretto Cupcakes

Almond Amaretto Cupcakes

Yield: ~18 Cupcakes     Prep Time: 20 Minutes     Cooktime: 14-17 Minutes

Based on this recipe.

Cake Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar (60 grams)
  • 1 cup white sugar (225 g)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (250 g)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (2.35 fl oz or 70 g)
  • 1/4 cup Amaretto (2 fl oz or 55 g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk and Amaretto, beating well after each addition.
  4. Stir in almonds. Batter will be really thick.
  5. Fill paper-lined muffins cups two-thirds full. Bake at 375° for 14-17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Amaretto Frosting Ingredients:

  • 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons amaretto

Directions:

  1. Cream together butter and sugar until frosting takes on a sandy texture.
  2. Add in half of the whipping cream and half of the amaretto.
  3. Mix well. Add in remaining liquids.
  4. Frost cupcakes.

 

Reese's Cupcakes
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Reese’s® Stuffed Cupcakes

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The Reese’s cupcake has kind of gotten a reputation around these parts. Something about the peanut butter-chocolate combination just makes people’s brains shut down and they descend into sugar-fueled madness. It typically goes something like this:

Until the sugar-induced bellyache comes around and they’re like

But how can you say no to such a tasty combination? But wait, there’s more! These cupcakes have a Reese’s cup. In the middle. Baked right inside of the cupcake. All gooey, and chocolately, and melty. That’s right. Swoon.

On a different note, you all should know that I don’t take my own photographs. They’re taken by my lovely friend and roommate Scott, who knows more about photography than I could ever. She really knows how to catch the essence of a food, letting its personality shine through in perfect clarity:

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Ah…well. She gets it right most of the time.

All in good fun, of course. If I tried taking pictures myself, we wouldn’t have this blog.

What else should you know about these cupcakes? They’re really quite simple. The strong coffee enhances the chocolate cake by giving it a strong, full undertone. The frosting is simple as long as you follow instructions (even if you don’t, it’d still be hard to mess it up). Don’t forget to fully unwrap the Reese’s pieces (or not, I don’t know what you’re into) and actually put them into the cupcakes (let me tell you how many times I’ve forgotten this until halfway through baking time). The recipe should yield about 24 cupcakes and enough frosting to generously frost them. Now go make friends by making these cupcakes.

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Reese’s® Stuffed Cupcakes

Yield: 24 Cupcakes     Preptime: 30-40 minutes     Cooktime: 20-25 minutes

Chocolate Cake Ingredients (based on this recipe)

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 room temperature eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup strong black coffee or 2 tablespoons instant coffee mixed into 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 24 mini Reese’s candies, unwrapped. A standard sized bag should have more than enough.

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Prepare muffin tins with cupcake cups. You can also unwrap your candies so they will be ready later. Set aside.
  2. Mix the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix until everything is fully combined,
  3. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla. Mix until fully combined, about four minutes by hand. Don’t worry, batter may be thin. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans, leaving enough room to press the candies in. (Displacement y’all, it’s science)
  4. Press the thoroughly unwrapped candies (I will not be responsible for you eating paper) into each cup.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.You can test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center cupcake. If it comes out mostly clean, it is done. Cool until safe to touch, then remove either to wire rack or counter.

Peanut Butter Frosting Ingredients

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • Roughly 2 cups powdered sugar, adjustable depending on taste
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (milk will do in a pinch, but frosting will not be as fluffy)

Directions

  1. Using a mixer, thoroughly combine butter and peanut butter.
  2. Once combined, add in the powdered sugar and one tablespoon of the whipping cream.
  3. Mix on a high setting until frosting starts coming together and getting fluffy.
  4. Mix in the remaining powdered sugar. Once fully combined, mix in the last tablespoon of whipping cream.

There should be enough frosting for 24 cupcakes. To make more, alternate adding in cups of sugar with tablespoons of cream.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today I went to the ninth circle of hell, otherwise known as the DMV to renew my license. Because that’s what adults do, right? They do taxes and are great at smalltalk and go to DMV’s to renew licenses. Well, two out of three (I’d still rather die than attempt awkward small talk) ain’t bad, right? I think that qualifies.

Adultness aside, thank goodness these cookies were waiting for me when I returned home, social energy expended for the day. 
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These cookies come from a favorite food blog of mine (Sally’s Baking Addiction has the best cookies), and they are excellent every time. Now these cookies are a delayed gratification, because you have to let the dough chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. That is, if you want soft, chewy cookies and not flat pancake cookies (which you would probably eat anyway, be honest).

Also, it is important that you measure the flour as accurately as you can. Best option is to measure it using a scale, but I’ve made them successfully using just a measuring cup–just realize your margin of error increases significantly.

Three major things make these cookies different from other chocolate chip cookie recipes. One, the butter is melted, which means no creaming, which means you don’t need a mixer (arm workouts for everyone!). Two, these cookies have an extra egg yolk. Separating eggs can be difficult the first few times, so don’t get discouraged. Three, the secret ingredient is cornstarch. Cornstarch makes cookies super soft.

Remember to set your oven to 325 degrees instead of 350. When melting butter, do so in 30 second intervals. It will pop, but don’t panic, it won’t catch fire (unless you just do something ridiculous, which I can’t be held accountable for). Just cover it so your microwave won’t get messy.

Now that I’ve been an adult for a day, I think the proper reward is 12 hours of Netflix and Tumblr. Plus a shameful (just kidding, I have no shame) amount of these cookies.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/4 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks or 170 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) light brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (180 grams) chocolate chips or chocolate chunks, or whatever else you feel like having in a cookie

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Toss together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch and salt in your largest bowl. Set aside.
  3. Begin melting butter.
  4. In a medium size bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar together until no brown sugar lumps remain. Make sure your mixture isn’t hot enough to cook the egg, then whisk in the egg and egg yolk. Finally, whisk in the vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula. Fold in the chocolate chips. They may not stick to the dough because of the melted butter, but try to get them evenly throughout. Cover the dough and chill for at least an hour, or up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory. The dough will look delicious, but resist.
  5. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to slightly soften at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  6. Butter or spray a baking sheet. Set aside.
  7. Roll the dough into balls, about 3 Tablespoons of dough each. The dough will be crumbly, but the warmth of your hands will allow the balls to stay intact. Put 8 balls of dough onto each cookie sheet. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes. The cookies will be soft and look not quite done. Don’t worry, they will continue cooking on the cookie sheet. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack or plate to cool.

Cookies stay soft and fresh for 7 whole days at room temperature (they will not last that long). Cookies may be frozen up to 3 months. Rolled cookie dough may be frozen up to three months and baked in their frozen state for 12 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Double Layer Chocolate Cake
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Double Chocolate Layered Cake

So I finally made a layer cake you guys.

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Oh, and also a food blog. Surprise!

I went with chocolate because everyone likes chocolate. Well, I’m not crazy about chocolate. I actually prefer vanilla in almost everything. It’s not something I usually tell people, because if I do, their reactions usually go something like this:

So I usually keep that information to myself. But on the inside, vanilla and I are best friends.

Just to clarify what Vanilla I’m talking about. Anyway, I think most people completely underestimate how difficult these things are. The mixing part is fine, but the difficulty comes in when you try to get the cake from the pan. Good cakes are moist but moist cakes also stick to the pan. Then when I finally gently pry this cake from this pan, I’m standing there with this cake in my hands trying to figure out how to stick them together, because you need the bottom of the cake to now be the top of the cake.

After some careful deliberation, frustration, and desperation, you end up with this:

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Photos courtesy of my roommate Scott, mostly because I can’t even correctly use my camera phone and she’s like, a real life photographer.

The recipe is below, guys, go make chocolate cake. I’m releasing my culinary secrets to you!

Double Chocolate Layered Cake (based upon Black Magic Cake and frosting from Whipped Chocolate Buttercreamprint-button-png-hi (1)

PREP TIME: 10 minutes      COOK TIME: 40 minutes     TOTAL TIME: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk (sour milk = 1 tbsp. vinegar + 1 cup milk)
  • 1 cup strong black coffee OR 2 teaspoons powdered instant coffee plus 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (batter will be thin).
  3. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
  4. Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. (This toothpick tip is important if you’re unsure how your oven bakes!)
  5. Cool at least 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. (I cooled mine on racks overnight.)

Whipped Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 3 (1 1/2 cups) sticks salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3-4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Directions:

  1. Add the butter and powdered sugar to the bowl to be mixed. Beat the butter and powdered sugar together until the butter is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the cocoa powder and vanilla and beat, scraping down the sides as needed another 2 minutes or until there are no streaks of white.
  3. Add 3 tablespoons of the heavy cream and whip the frosting for 2-4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Then add remaining tablespoon and continue whipping.
  4. Frost cake to your heart’s desire.