Adventures in Cupcakes

Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes with Maple Bourbon Cayenne Buttercream Frosting

Cupcakes

2 cups flour
1.5 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 tablespoons baking soda
1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup room temperature coffee
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs

Frosting

At this point, I’ve stopped following frosting recipes. It’s simple. Butter, maybe some cream cheese, plenty of confectionary sugar, and flavor. You can add pure vanilla extract, liquor, fresh fruit juice, zest, cayenne pepper, maple syrup, etc. This frosting was pure buttercream plus maple syrup, bourbon, salt, and cayenne pepper.

Lemon Blueberry Cucpakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

This was my first cupcake. At the time, I had been limiting my sugar intake. Suddenly, on a Friday night, I knew what I had to do: make a cupcake with fresh blueberries. I found a recipe on Annie’s Eats and followed it exactly with one minor exception: I added lemon zest to the top of the frosting. They were delicious and very lemony.

 

Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes

Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes

Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes

Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes

Vanilla Orange Cupcakes

I decided to skip the cream cheese, and go with a simple buttercream frosting. I used this recipe for the cake, and a double batch of this for the frosting. I baked the cakes for about a minute too long, I believe. 20 minutes would have the done the trick, but I wasn’t so sure upon inspection. You live, you learn, and in the interim, you get cupcakes.

 

Vanilla Orange Cupcakes

Vanilla Orange Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (Vegan)

I haven’t been making cupcakes very long, and I certainly don’t know much about vegan baking, but I gave it a whirl anyways. I used this recipe precisely for the cake and a modified version of this recipe for the frosting.

I bet I know what you are thinking! Yuck, Megan.  Shortening?! Vegetable oil?! WTF is wrong with you?  I’m well aware of the issues, trust me. I wasn’t sure where to start, so I went with recipes that had high ratings on common websites. Next time I go vegan, I’ll consult the specialists. Besides, I believe that baking is an adventure, and you should learn from your mistakes so that you understand why you are choosing certain ingredients over others. So there. :P

Well, after making a 1/2 batch of the frosting, I certainly wasn’t satisfied.  The frosting had a waxy texture from the shortening and the flavor wasn’t what I wanted.  I ended up adding more sugar, skipping the corn syrup, and adding a generous amount of salt.  I was satisfied with the end result:  I had managed to infuse more of an earthy flavor by increasing the sugar and adding salt.

As soon as I pulled the cakes out of the oven, I had a taste.  Wow, were they bland.  Without the presence of eggs, the cakes hardly rose and the texture screamed vegan, but not in a good way.  I pulled them out of the tray and coated them in confectionary sugar.  The sugar coating helped increase the sweetness and make them look kind of cool.  Check them out below.  Pretty, aren’t they? :)

 

Chocolate Vegan Cupcake

Chocolate Vegan Cupcake

Chocolate Vegan Cupcakes

Chocolate Vegan Cupcakes

 

Minimilist Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

After realizing my vegan cupcakes weren’t going to fool anyone, I decided to make a similar non-vegan cupcake that same evening.  It was too late to run out and get more ingredients, but luckily I had just enough leftover cocoa to make it work.  I found this simple, but brilliant recipe for Devil’s food chocolate cake. Pay attention to the method for mixing the cake ingredients and beating the eggs. This made an unbelievably fluffy batter that produced a light and airy cupcake.  For the frosting, I went out on my own and made a simple vanilla buttercream with a few dashes of salt.  I started by creaming butter with pure vanilla extract and salt, and then slowly adding confectionary sugar while increasing the speed on my KitchenAid.  Simple and easy.

 

Minimalist Chocolate Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Minimalist Chocolate Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Minimalist Chocolate Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Minimalist Chocolate Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

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