White Wine Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream + 5 Cupcake Links for Mom

“Most was said in our first moment, when we were so quiet.  He swam through the air to me and there was nothing.  No spaces.  I suppose it was the first moment I was thoroughly alive because I fell too far in it to ever describe it.  There was nothing to look at because I was too busy seeing, and I got to be a beginner too.  Will always be now, as every moment with your child will never repeat itself with something lovely after it, like a sunset or a passage in a book.  Real time with them, I think, is the only actual.  Everything left over is just a weather report.” Mary-Louise Parker, Dear Mr. You

[My words, lost for now, adrift in a dense, gunmetal fog will come back.  Thank, whomever, whoever or whatever for Mary-Louise Parker’s insight.  Happy Mother’s Day. xo]

White Wine Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

A lightly sweet cupcake with a tight crumb topped with a super silky chocolate buttercream

Recipe adapted from Silver Palette Cookbook and Cambridge School of Culinary Arts

Makes 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar

4 eggs, at room temperature

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup dry white wine ( I used Pinot Grigio)

2 + 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 + 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.  Line two standard muffin tins with cupcake liners.  Set aside.

Grab a medium bowl and sift together the flour, salt and baking powder.  Set aside.  Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar and eggs on medium speed until incorporated, about 30 seconds.  Reduce speed to low and add oil, wine, dry ingredients and vanilla.  Increase speed to medium and beat until well combined, about 1-2 minutes.  Pour batter into prepared muffin pans.  Place 1 pan on the middle rack and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.  (Be sure to check at 20 minutes.)  Once baked, remove cupcakes from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  Proceed with baking the next pan of cupcakes.

Once cool, frost the cupcakes generously with chocolate buttercream.  Enjoy!

*Cupcakes are best the day they are made.  However, they still taste great the next day.  Be sure to store them in an air-tight container, at room temperature.*

Chocolate Buttercream

Ingredients:

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature

6 eggs, whites only, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1lb. unsalted butter, at room temperature

pinch of kosher salt

Directions:

Cut the butter into tablespoon chunks and set aside.  Melt your chocolate either in the microwave or stove top and set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, place egg whites in bowl and beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.  While the egg whites are beating, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan.  Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.  Cook on high until it reaches 238F or the softball stage.  Immediately, with the mixer on medium speed, add the hot sugar in slow but steady stream.  Beat until the whites have cooled.

Reduce the speed to low and the add the butter, one chunk at a time, until it is completely incorporated.  Increase the speed to high and beat until glossy and light.  Turn the mixer off.  Grab a rubber spatula and fold in the melted chocolate until smooth.  Mix in a pinch of salt.  Frost your cupcakes generously!

**If your buttercream breaks or looks curdled when mixing, hold a cloth ice pack or ice against the bottom of the bowl and continue to beat on medium speed.  The buttercream will eventually come back together.  Be patient!  This happened to me and the cloth ice pack trick worked!**

5 Cupcakes Just for Mom

Rhubarb is showing up the in market just in time for Mother’s Day so why not make mom cupcakes studded with fresh rhubarb?  Head to Kitchen Konfidence for the the recipe.

Looking for a quick and easy cupcake recipe mom is sure to love?  Head to i am Baker for Amanda’s coconut angel food cupcakes.

Eat your bananas and make Local Milk’s buttermilk and roasted banana cupcakes with Lindt truffle filling and marshmallow frosting.  This sounds like a bite of heaven to me!

David Lebovitz’s chocolate, peanut butter and pretzel cupcakes will make any mom forgot a horrible, no good, very bad day.

Keep it simple and make my chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream.

 

Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream + 5 Classic Cupcake Links

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When I overthink things I get myself into trouble.  I overthought these chocolate cupcakes. I agonized over thoughts of various fillings, my mind racing with options: raspberry curd, mocha whipped cream, chocolate ganache, Dulce de Leche.  [No, next.]  So, I focused on frosting choices: Swiss meringue buttercream, sea salt caramel frosting, dark chocolate ganache, a simple fruit icing.  [No, no. Tasty, but not what I’m looking for…today.]

“Keep it simple, Kel.” She tells me, one hand on the steering wheel as she applies a thick coat of lipstick without looking, once, in the mirror.  [Light blue Ford Taurus station wagon that smells like sour milk and old coffee.  She doesn’t care.  She gave up on caring about incidentals a long time ago.  I get that…now.]  

I stare, memorized by her confidence, memory recall, her lips as they transform from a pale, wrinkled pink to a smooth, as, buttercream mauve.  How does she do that?  A mystery to me in so many ways.  

Her beautiful bright blue eyes dart over me, examine my face.  “What’s with you today?”  I turn my face into the light coming through the passenger’s window, a rural landscape runs alongside.

“Nothing.”  My go to answer for many decades to come.  Poor Mom, tormented and relieved by the unknowns.  Juxtaposition at its best.

“Keep it simple.”  These words coming from a woman who has never kept anything simple in her life.  A woman who counted on plan b and plan c .  If the levy should break.  

She doesn’t know I will take her words, carry them with me, and sing them like a psalm.   

So, I  pushed options to the side.  Tucked them safely in a place, a corner of my brain, where they sit patiently and wait.   Wait for a day when I need them.  After all, I am my mother’s daughter.

So I kept it bald, bare, naked and made a rich, moist chocolate cupcake paired with a sweet and light white chocolate buttercream.  Nothing fancy, in fact, quite simple, but altogether delicious.

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Chocolate Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream

Cupcake recipe from Not Without Salt

Buttercream recipe adapted from What To Bake & How To Bake It, Jane Hornby

Makes 24 cupcakes ( You may get more. I got 36!)

Ingredients for cupcakes:

3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 + 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

2 + 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 + 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 eggs

1 + 1/2 cups milk ( I used 1%)

3/4 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 + 3/4 cups sugar

1 cup boiling water

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.  Line two 12 cup muffin pans with cupcake liners and set aside.

Grab a large bowl and sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

Using the a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla on medium speed.  Reduce the speed to low and add the sugar and dry ingredients.  Mix on a low speed for a couple of minutes, then increase the speed to medium and mix until the batter is smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  (You should not see lumps.  If you do, keep mixing.)  Slowly, add 1 cup of boiling water and mix on the lowest speed until completely smooth.  (Alternatively, mix the water into the batter with a wooden spoon until smooth.)  The batter will be quite thin.  Let the batter rest for about 15-30 minutes.  I let it sit for closer to an hour.  When ready to bake, gently stir the batter.

Fill the cupcake liners, about three-quarters the way full.  Bake until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched or when a cake tester inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about 20 minutes.  Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.  While the cupcakes cool, make your buttercream frosting.

Ingredients for white chocolate buttercream frosting:

1/2 cup heavy cream

3 1/2 ounces white chocolate, chopped

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

a good pinch of kosher salt

2 cups of confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:

Grab a small saucepan and heat the cream until the edges just begin to bubble.  Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.  Once melted, stir until smooth.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy.  Add the vanilla and salt, scrape down the sides and continue to beat.  Slowly, add the confectioners’ sugar.  Continue to beat until fluffy and pale.  Pour in the cool chocolate and whip on high for 5 minutes.  Add more sugar if it seems too thin.  ( I didn’t need to add more sugar.)  Frost cupcakes with an offset spatula or fill a pastry bag and add your favorite piping tip.  Cupcakes are best the day they are made.  However, they taste just fine if made a day in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Eggs

Ingredients:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

piping or Ziploc bag

parchment paper

Directions:

Using a pencil, lightly draw desired shapes on parchment paper: eggs, flowers, butterfly etc.

Melt 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate in an oven proof glass bowl either using the microwave or nestled on top of a small saucepan with simmering water. * If using the microwave, watch carefully, as it will burn easily.  If using the stove top, be sure the bowl does not touch the simmer watering.*  Stir until the chocolate is smooth and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.  Pour melted chocolate into a Ziploc bag and trim just a bit of the corner with scissors.  Trace your drawings using the melted chocolate.  Allow to dry until completely hard, about 30 minutes.  Remove the chocolate from parchment paper with a spatula and carefully add decorations to cupcakes.

 5 Classic Cupcake Links!

My favorite cake and frosting match up is yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  Sally’s Baking Addiction has a recipe that is making me drool: moist yellow cupcakes with milk chocolate frosting.

Red velvet will never go out of foodie style.  Averie Cooks has a recipe for red velvet cupcakes with vanilla cream cheese frosting that looks divine!

Looking for a mouth watering all chocolate cupcake?  Head to Sweetapolita for Rosie’s dark and dreamy double fudge cupcakes.  

Kids and adults will go crazy for My Baking Addiction’s vanilla bean cupcakes.

I love all lemon desserts, but Cooking Classy’s lemon cupcakes with lemon buttercream frosting is really pulling on my heartstrings today!

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting + 5 Spring Cupcake Links!

lps0006I called an old friend today to wish her a happy birthday. A few hours later she called me back. We attempted to have a conversation, but N started crying. Neither of us could ignore his helpless newborn cry so we said goodbye. I felt sad we couldn’t chat longer. I miss her. Distance and small children who need us make staying in touch difficult. We try anyway because we need each other. We try because we remind each other of who we are. We try because a 20 year friendship deserves it.  One day our little people won’t need us as much and our conversations will last longer than 5 minutes. So today we make an effort for one day.

If today, we had more than 5 minutes to chat this is what I would have said: Happy birthday sweet friend! It is so good to hear your voice. I know, it is hard to believe we haven’t talked since N was born. Crazy how 5 weeks fly by. Lets not let another 5 weeks go by. Are you taking some time for yourself today? You should. No, don’t feel guilty. You deserve some time just for you. They will be ok. I wish we could grab a drink tonight and chat and eat the cupcakes I made. I think it is so cool your birthday falls on the first day of spring! Spring means a new beginning. This 36th year is your new beginning. Surprise yourself this year. Do something adventurous, and call me and tell me all about it. Also, be patient with yourself. You have a lot going on and there is only so much you can do in a day. Go for a run to clear your head as often as you can. Go to yoga and breathe out whatever is troubling you. Stop debating about whether you should have a second piece of cake today. You should damn it! It’s your birthday! You mentioned buying eye cream. You should buy some. Time is not our friend. If it works let me know! I know you have to go, me too. I hope this is your best year yet. I love you and miss you terribly. Bye for now.

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Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe adapted from Alice Water’s The Art of Simple Food 1-2-3-4 Cake and Averie Cook’s Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients for cake:

2 eggs

1/2 cup of milk

1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup of sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp. poppy seeds

zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 cups cake flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350. Line a 12 cup standard size muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.

Separate 2 eggs and set aside. Sift and measure 1 and 1/2 cups of cake flour into a medium bowl. Stir in 2 teaspoons of baking powder and a 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat 1 stick of butter until light and fluffy. Add 1 cup of sugar and lemon zest. Cream until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides once or twice. Add the egg yolks, one at a time. Now add vanilla extract and fresh lemon juice. Once it is well combined, add the flour mixture and milk alternately. Start with 1/3 of the flour and then 1/3 of the milk, ending with the flour. Stir until just incorporated. Do not over mix! In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Spoon the batter, about 2/3rd the way full, into the prepared muffin pan and bake for about 18-20 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. The cupcakes will last in an air tight container, at room temperature for 2 days. Enjoy and happy spring!

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

recipe barely adapted from Averie Cooks

(double the recipe if you want a lot of frosting on your cupcakes)

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

1 1/4 cups of confectioner’s sugar or more for desired consistency

pinch of kosher salt

optional: lemon zest for garnish

Directions:

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, lemon juice and confectioner’s sugar until smooth. Add a pinch of salt. Continue to add sugar until you reach desired consistency. Refrigerate the frosting for about an hour so it firms up a bit. Once firm, frost your cupcakes with as much or as little frosting as you like. Enjoy!

5 Spring Cupcakes You Should Try!

If you like lemon meringue pie, why not try the cupcake version? Cooking Classy has a recipe that looks fantastic and I’m guessing tastes even better!

Looking for a cupcake recipe to try on your more adventurous eaters? I found it! Head to Annie’s Eats for her strawberry balsamic cupcake recipe.

I love the combination of raspberries and lemon. I need to make this cupcake by My Baking Addiction very soon.

I love carrot cake, especially in cupcake form. The Cupcake Project has a carrot cake cupcake recipe that promises to be moist and delicious. Check it out!

Peeps and Easter go hand in hand. I love Peeps, especially when they are a little stale. How about a vanilla cupcake, frosted with vanilla raspberry marshmallow frosting, topped with a pink peep? Yes please! Heather Cristo has the recipe for you.

Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting + A Birthday

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I turned 35 a few days ago. 35. I was 25 yesterday, I blinked and now I am 35. It is not so much the number that bothers me but more the passage of time. It goes by too fast. I would rather be where I am now at 35 than where I was at 25. I like myself more now than I did 10 years ago. That is saying a lot because I am a pretty harsh critique of myself.

So to celebrate the start of my 35th year we hired a sitter and Bubba and I went to an excellent restaurant in the North End called, Carmen. I had linguine with clams in fra diavolo sauce. The sauce was fresh and spicy and creamy all at the same time. The pasta was cooked to perfection and the clams were off the boat fresh. Bubba ordered scallops on a summer risotto with bacon. Amazing! After dinner, we took a long stroll and ended up at Lulu’s Sweet Shop. Lulu’s is known for their cupcakes. I love cupcakes. After eating a carrot + pineapple cupcake with cream cheese frosting in less than 3 minutes, I started thinking about cupcakes, a lot.

The next morning I obsessively looked at dozens of cupcake recipes until I came across one by Smitten Kitchen called Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting. I’m sold! I love peaches but peaches in a cupcake was something completely new and exciting.

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These cupcakes are very easy to make. The cake itself is very moist and light. The peach pieces add a fresh sweetness. The frosting is not like any frosting I’ve had and I think this it would work well on a number of cakes or cupcakes. I might try it on a carrot cake or spice cake next time.

I didn’t tweak either of the recipes at all. Maybe next time I’ll switch things up a bit, but I think they are pretty perfect just the way they are. Give them a shot! You will not be disappointed. Take them to a friend on her birthday. Who doesn’t love a cupcake?

Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

by Smitten Kitchen

Yields about 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

3 cups cake flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

Pinch of nutmeg

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed  dark or light brown sugar packed

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups buttermilk, sour cream or full-fat yogurt ( I used full fat plain yogurt.)

3 large peaches, peeled, cored, and chopped small

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 and  line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg and set aside. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl between each addition. Add the vanilla. Gently mix the yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Do not over mix. Fold in the peach chunks.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cupcake liners. I use an ice cream scoop for this part.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Check at 18 minutes and continue baking if necessary. Cool the cupcakes for about five minutes in the muffin tin. After 5 minutes, place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

1 1/4 cups light brown sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch (Brown sugar is more damp than granulated or powdered sugar and is missing the cornstarch thickener. Adding cornstarch helps the frosting to set up.)

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup (4 ounces or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch and powdered sugar. Using a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add the sugar-cornstarch mixture and vanilla. Beat until frosting is smooth and light. Refrigerate the frosting until it thickens back up, about 30 minutes and spread on cooled cupcakes. I bought an inexpensive Wilton’s decorating kit at Michael’s. This is a good purchase if even if you only like to occasionally decorate cakes and cupcakes.