Mar 182011
 

I’m typing this up with a snoring husband on my right and sleeping baby on the left. And the first quiet I’ve had all day, as well as the first time I’m able to sit down at the computer. So this is going to be a day late and a dollar short but I baked and dang it all, I’m gonna blog it.

I was googling around for some St. Patrick’s day cupcakes when I found Martha Stewart’s Irish coffee cupcakes. I like coffee (or well, lattes) and I like cupcakes so I figured it was win win. I’m going to tell you right off the bat I did not like these cupcakes. First fail from Martha for me.

The cupcakes are very very simple to make. It calls for instant espresso. You can find it in with the other instant coffee in a tiny jar for a lot of money. I wasn’t sure I needed to use instant, thought about just brewing a strong cup of espresso but decided I might as well follow the recipe. I should have went with my gut because I think real espresso made from great coffee like the local place I get it from would have made for better cupcakes.

I was expecting a really strong coffee taste with two tablespoons of instant espresso and I just didn’t get  it.  “Brewed” it looked pretty strong and it certainly smelled good. But the taste just wasn’t there.

The batter is this really rich looking brown color. Similar to what coffee ice cream looks like. I tasted it at this point and knew it wasn’t going to be great.

While they were baking again I knew they weren’t going to be great. I kept expecting the aroma of coffee to fill my house and it just didn’t.  I tasted one while still warm and thought to myself maybe the whiskey whipped cream would make it all come together. Nope.

Maybe there is a better instant espresso I can find? Maybe Martha has a can of great stuff and when she cooked them they were rich and flavorful. But as my 4yo said “they don’t taste like anything”.

They are pretty though. Martha says to top them with more espresso. I did, but also my local Wegmans had St. Patrick’s day sprinkles in the bulk foods so I bought a small scoop. I think they look pretty this way too:

 

CUPCAKES

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons instant-espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs

Frosting

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whiskey
  • Instant-espresso powder, for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the cupcakes: Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour water over espresso powder; let cool. Combine espresso with milk. Beat butter and granulated and brown sugars with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with espresso-milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour (batter may look broken).
  2. Fill 15 cups (of two 12-cup muffin tins) three-quarters full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool; turn out cupcakes from tins.
  3. Make the frosting: Whisk together cream and confectioners’ sugar until medium peaks form. Add whiskey; whisk until slightly stiff peaks form.
  4. Top each cupcake with 2 tablespoons frosting; dust with espresso powder.

Source.

Mar 142011
 

I finally baked again! Hooray! I had a blast and I really can’t wait to make more. I think I forgot how much fun I have making cupcakes. Between my broken ankle and being pregnant I hadn’t felt up to baking. Oh! The baby! This is him:

His name is Atticus. My pregnancy wasn’t that fun. I’m not a happy pregnant person. I starting having bad hip pain around 17 weeks and also developed pregnancy carpal tunnel. And with my broken ankle that still doesn’t feel great standing in the the kitchen baking was the last thing I wanted to do. Now I WANT to bake but time management isn’t on my side. However I got an email from parenting.com a few weeks ago about 6 cute cupcakes. I couldn’t just push delete on that one!

One of the cupcakes was a rainbow cupcake. I’ve made a rainbow cake before and thought cupcakes would be super cute. And I decided it would be a good project to do with my older son as he likes to help in the kitchen. I nursed and diapered the baby and plopped him in his high chair and Jamison and I were ready to go!

When baking with Jamison I try to make things easier for him. Like if  recipe calls for 1/2 cup  milk I put that 1/2 cup in a 1 cup measuring cup. That way spilling is kept to a minimum! I also will crack eggs into something and let him pour the egg in but I don’ t have to worry about picking out egg shells. He is only four.

Cooking with Jamison is fun. He takes what I say very literal. When we were combining the flour mixture with the butter mixture I told him to dump in a little at a time. He dumped in maybe a tablespoon, ha!

Unless you don’t care about food coloring stains I would suggest you add the food coloring yourself to the bowls of batter. I used 6 Tupperware/Rubbermaid containers and 6 spoons.

The MOST time consuming part of this whole recipe is putting the layers of colored batter in the cupcake tins. It took a long time. And with a four year old helping probably it took longer than it would have if I’d just done it myself but still. Now the recipe says to make sure the batter touches the sides of your cupcake liners. I wasn’t that careful.

When they were cooked you could see specks of different colors in the top of the cupcakes. Are they perfect? No. But when cooking with your kids nothing is going to come out perfect. What matters is you had fun. And we did.

Despite the specks of different colors on top, they were still rainbow cupcakes.

The recipe calls for these to be coconut cupcakes with coconut butter cream. I thought that was too much coconut so I only put coconut in the frosting. The cake part was a very yummy (rainbow colored) yellow cake. And it was super easy to make. If you’re looking for a multipurpose yellow cake totally use this recipe minus the coconut. Much tastier than a box mix I’m sure. I frosted these with a 1A wilton tip. I got this almost a year ago courtesy of Maria over at BORED Mommy. I had mentioned once I didn’t have the tip I wanted for a different cupcake and she asked what it was and so very nicely sent it to me from Canada! I’ve been dying to use it and finally got the chance. I love how it looks!

After I frosted them my son had a hard time waiting for after dinner to have one. Taking pictures of the finished product was kind of like torture!

 

CUPCAKES:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract – I did not use this, doubled the vanilla
  • ¾ cup canned coconut milk (not cream of coconut) – I used regular milk
  • Yellow, green, red and blue liquid food color

FROSTING:

  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter or margarine, softened
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • Dash salt
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon coconut extract
  • Multicolored candy sprinkles, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 12 regular-size muffin cups.

2. In small bowl, mix flour and baking powder; set aside. In medium bowl, beat ½ cup butter and the granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon coconut extract. On low speed, alternately add flour mixture, ½ at a time, and coconut milk, ½ at a time, beating just until blended.

3. Measure about ¾ cup batter into each of 5 small bowls. For yellow, stir about 6 drops yellow food color into batter in first bowl. Tint second bowl green, with 6 drops green food color; third bowl red, with about 8 drops red food color; fourth bowl blue, with about 10 drops blue food color; and fifth bowl purple, with about 8 drops red food color and 3 drops blue food color.

4. Spoon scant tablespoon of yellow batter into each cup; smooth to edge of baking cup with back of spoon. Repeat with green, red, blue and purple batters (fill cups to ¾ full).

5. Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack to cool.

6. In large bowl, beat 1 ½ cups butter, the powdered sugar and salt with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in 4 tablespoons of the milk, ½ teaspoon vanilla and ¼ teaspoon coconut extract. Add remaining milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until frosting is smooth and spreadable. Beat until fluffy.

7. Pipe or frost about ¼ cup frosting onto each cupcake. Sprinkle with multicolored sprinkles.

Source.