Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes with Meringue Frosting

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Today, I’m heading to a co-worker’s party and since her daughter loves cupcakes and caramel, I thought I’d make something that combines both. And let’s be honest, chocolate and caramel is one of the best combinations in my book because I am a chocoholic. They say the first step is acceptance right? I don’t think I can go one day without chocolate, so it makes sense that almost everything I make involves chocolate. Perhaps I should give up cooking on my blog and just make all things chocolate.

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Anyway, back to this cupcake: I found a recipe for 7 minute meringue for the frosting and chocolate cupcake from bon appetit and since their recipes have yet to fail me, I decided to give it a try! The caramel, I made a few days ago and fell in love it. I also made too much because I have yet to buy a smaller sauce pot. With just a large pot, I thought it would be a waste to make the small batch and quadrupled the recipe. Don’t worry, it’s really easy to double or halve or triple or etc. Not to mention, making caramel isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. You just have to keep an eye on it because once the sugar burns it’s no good. DSC_0681 But caramel will be another post! The cupcakes were really good! Since I had reduced the sugar, they weren’t overly sweet and perfectly chocolate-y. I definitely think that adding melted chocolate into the batter along with cocoa powder is what really made it that way. The 7-minute meringue frosting tasted like marshmallows and it it all went so well! I really liked that the meringue held up in the NYC heat. I know it’s a little alarming because it’s raw egg whites, but since you cook them a little over a double-boiler I think it’s fine. Everyone loved them and I’m pretty sure that this frosting will be one of my go-to frosting recipes now that I’ve tried it and realized how surprisingly simple it is top make (although next time I will invest in a electric mixer). I made the frosting by hand this time and the 7-minute frosting took roughly 20 minutes by hand. So yes, definitely use a electric mixer of sorts. Enough chitchat, let’s get started!

Ingredients: 

-1 stick unsalted butter, softened
-1/4 cup sugar
-2 eggs
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-5 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
-1 cup AP flour
-3 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
-3/4 tsp baking powder
-1/8 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 cup milk (preferably whole milk)
Frosting: 
-1 cup sugar
-1/3 cup water
-2 large egg whites
-1/4 tsp cream of tartar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 pinch salt
-caramel

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a standard 12-cup cupcake tin with paper liners.
  2. Melt the semisweet chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave (30-45 second bursts, you don’t want it to burn!). Let the chocolate cool.
  3. Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda and set aside.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Once the eggs and vanilla are well incorporated, add in the chocolate and mix to combine.
  6. Add in one third of the flour mixture and mix to incorporate. Add the half the milk and mix until combined. Keep adding the flour and milk until everything is incorporated.
  7. Fill the liners until they’re about two-thirds full and gently tap the pan to settle the batter.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out with a few crumbs attached. Let the cupcakes cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then remove and cool on a wire rack until completely cool.
  9. While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting by whisking the egg whites, water, cream of tartar, sugar and salt in a metal bowl. Set the bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water and whisk* until soft peaks form.  Remove the bowl from the heat and continue to whisk until the frosting is cool to the touch and form stiff peaks. Beat the vanilla into the frosting**.
  10. Before piping on the frosting, hollow out the center of the cupcake (not all the way through, just about two-thirds of the way down) and fill with caramel. Pipe the frosting onto the tops of the cupcakes.

*Please use a electric hand mixer or a mixer if you have one. If you, like me, do not  have one, now is the perfect time to invest in one. Or if you’re like me and decide you can hand whisk it, be prepared for a good whisking workout (and please don’t kill me afterwards) **You want to add the vanilla after the frosting has cooled since heat will alter the taste of the vanilla. And you’re done!


Hugs and puppies! Mimi

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Update

Hi all!

 

I’m so sorry I haven’t been posting much! I’ve been pretty busy this past weekend, since my mom was in the city and I finally have a full-tim job as a paralegal! 

 

I’m hoping to bake/make more yummy things this weekend, so stay tuned!!

Hugs and puppies!

 

Mimi

Green Tea Icebox Cake

 

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Icebox cake. It’s a two-ingredient, no-fuss dessert. What makes it even better? There’s no need for an oven, so your already overheated kitchen won’t get any hotter. Now icebox cake shouldn’t be confused with ice cream cake. Icebox cake is literally cookies and whipped cream layered together and left to meld to create the perfect combination of cookies and cream. It’s ridiculously easy to personalize too. Whether you want flavored whipped cream or plain, store-bought wafer cookies or homemade ones, a big cake or little individual stacks, it’s all up to you! So this summer, cool off with some icebox cakes with all your friends! You’ll be glad you did!

In this version, I made green tea whipped cream and used these thin sesame cookies that a coworker brought in.  Some similar ones are the Japanese Harvest cookies, which you can probably find in your nearest Japanese grocery store (like Mitsuwa).  I also decided to make individual stacks instead of a entire cake, so I didn’t need as many wafer cookies.

Ingredients: 

-10-15 thin wafer cookies
-1 pint heavy cream
-3 tbsp matcha powder
 

Directions:

  1. Prepare your wafer cookies, whether you’re making them from scratch or simply taking them out of the box.
  2. Add the matcha powder to the heavy cream.
  3. Whip your heavy cream with a electric mixer (or by hand) into soft peaks.
  4. On a thin wafer, drop a dollop of whipped cream and gently top with another cookie. Pressing down gently so the whipped cream spreads.
  5. Repeat dolloping cream and topping with another cookie until you have about 5 or 6 layers. Any taller and it might fall (though if you want to make a lo cake, then simply keep stacking until it nearly topples before placing the stack on it’s side and adding more cookies).
  6. Place in the freezer and allow to firm up, about 3 hours or overnight.

You can also use a 9 inch spring form pan to make a giant cake if you want. I made a chocolate mocha ice box cake, which you can check out here!

Hugs and puppies,

Mimi

 

4th of July Cupcakes

Happy 4th of July! 

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I hope that everyone’s having a good 4th of July so far! I decorated some cupcakes to celebrate! I know I made cookies earlier, but I thought this was also a fun way to show your patriotic side! 

So let’s get started!

Ingredients:

-12 cupcakes (I made a red velvet and yellow cupcake swirl)
Cream Cheese Frosting
-3/4 cup powdered sugar
-8 oz cream cheese 
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-blue food coloring
Decorations
-red vines
-white sprinkles or nonpareils 
 

Directions:

  1. Bake your cupcakes and let them cool.
  2. While your cupcakes are cooling, make the cream cheese frosting by creaming together cold cream cheese with the powdered sugar and the vanilla.
  3. Take about 1/4 cup of the cream cheese frosting and mix it with a drop or two of blue food coloring.
  4. Cut your red vines so that they span the top of your cupcake (about 3 inches). If you want thicker stripes, simple cut the 3 inch pieces in half lengthwise. If you want thinner stripes (I thought they looked better), cut the 3 inch pieces into quarters (lengthwise).
  5. Frost the tops of the cupcakes with the white cream cheese frosting.
  6. Place two strips across the cupcake, one across the middle of the cupcake and one underneath it.
  7. Dollop a glob of blue frosting on the upper left half of the frosting. Cut a red vine piece in half and place it along side the blue frosting.
  8. Once you’ve frosted all the cupcakes, place them on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle the white nonpareils over the blue frosting.

And you’re done!

Everyone at the office liked these cupcakes and I had a lot of fun decorating them! I hope you get to try making these for your own family and friends today! If you’re having trouble, comment below and I’ll do my best to help you out 🙂

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Hugs, puppies and fireworks!!

Mimi