Cooking with Alison

Archive for the ‘Cupcakes’ Category

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe (plus different uses for leftover frosting)

In Cookies, Cupcakes, Desserts, Other Desserts on November 26, 2013 at am

This peanut butter frosting recipe makes a lot of frosting.  Luckily, the leftovers can be frozen.  I first used it to make peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes.  In fact, I’ve made these cupcakes and mini cupcakes for several different events, now.  They were all very well received (recipe below).  Recently, I was in a very popular cupcake bakery downtown Toronto, ON, and I noticed that their chocolate peanut butter cupcakes were decorated the exact same way that mine were!  That was a nice reminder to share this recipe.  Don’t forget to warn people that these contain nuts, in case of food allergies.


I’d also like to share three other uses for the leftovers of this delicious frosting.  For a Canada Day BBQ, I used the peanut butter frosting as the filling for oatmeal cookie sandwiches.  They were very popular.  Then, for John’s housewarming party, I served the peanut butter frosting on graham crackers topped with fresh banana slices and drizzles of homemade dark chocolate sauce.  I’ve also heard that frozen graham cracker and frosting sandwiches are delicious too.  I’ll have to try that next time.  I’d love to hear what you do with your leftover frosting!

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Favourite Chocolate Cupcakes with Light and Fluffy Nutella Frosting

In Cupcakes, Desserts on August 22, 2013 at am


This is my new favourite chocolate cupcake recipe.  I have also used it successfully to make a layer cake.  This recipe is very similar to the previous favourite chocolate cake recipe (see here), with the main difference being that this new recipe includes cornstarch.  The difference in result is very subtle, but I’m convinced that the texture of these cupcakes is slightly better.

This nutella and chocolate frosting is also worth mentioning.  I never knew that such a simple frosting could be so light in weight, smooth and delicate in flavour, and still hold its shape when piped.  In fact, Sweetapolita calls it “nutella cloud frosting” to describe the texture.  It is comparable to swiss meringue buttercream in heavenly texture but requires much less work, time, and ingredients.  Note that I’ve also paired this chocolate cake recipe with a chocolate swiss meringue buttercream and it was incredible.  See instructions here.

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Fondant Recipe

In Cake Decorating, Cakes, Cookie Decorating, Cookies, Cupcakes on September 16, 2011 at am

Fondant is used for decorating cakes (especially wedding cakes), cupcakes, and fancy cookies.  It creates a beautiful and smooth covering that makes your homemade desserts look professionally made.  Fondant is actually quite easy to work with, but store bought fondant is expensive and, in my opinion, doesn’t taste good.  Homemade marshmallow fondant, however, is easy to make, is much more affordable, and tastes good.  Thanks to the step-by-step photo instructions from this website, I was able to make my first wedding cake.

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Swiss Meringue Buttercream with Flavour Variations

In Cake Decorating, Cakes, Cupcakes, Other Desserts on September 15, 2011 at am

Swiss merginue buttercream is so good and versatile that it truly deserves its own post.  Think of it in this way:  swiss meringue buttercream is to buttercream frosting as Egyptian cotton is to 200 thread count bed sheets.  Swiss meringue buttercream is stiff enough for piping and cake decorating, but it feels and tastes light, satiny, smooth, elegant, and luxurious.  I love it when people taste it for the first time and turn to me with wide, adoring eyes, to ask, “What is this?”.  🙂  This is the stuff that the professionals use and you can easily make it yourself.  It will take your baking to a whole new level.  Although swiss meringue buttercream is slightly tedious and time consuming to make, it is definitely worth the effort.  You can make a large batch and store it in the refrigerator or freezer.

I have used swiss meringue buttercream for strawberry cupcakes, mini chocolate cupcakes, chocolate cake, and a wedding cake with great success.  I originally shared the recipes for strawberry and vanilla swiss meringue buttercream in my yellow cupcakes and favourite moist chocolate cake posts, respectively.  I recently made chocolate swiss meringue buttercream for my dad’s chocolate birthday cake and it instantly became my new favourite chocolate frosting.

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Favourite Moist Chocolate Cake or Cupcakes Recipe (using buttermilk)

In Cupcakes on September 8, 2011 at am

Update:  I discovered a similar chocolate cupcake recipe (see here) that I like a bit more than this one.  The difference is very slight and the two recipes differ mainly in the ingredient, cornstarch.  I still recommend this original favourite below, too, as it is delicious and has never failed me.

I have tried many chocolate cake recipes, but this is only the second recipe that I have posted so far.  Can you tell I’m picky when it comes to chocolate cake?  The first one posted is my favourite casual chocolate cake recipe that incorporates mayonnaise (recipe here).  The recipe I’m sharing now uses buttermilk and vegetable oil and yields a fantastic chocolate cake that is very moist and chocolatey.  Through recipe testing, I discovered that making cake with vegetable oil results in a better moistness than making cake with melted butter.  This recipe is very quick and easy to make and I’ve used it successfully many times for cupcakes, mini cupcakes and even a wedding layer cake (see here).  As a layer cake, this cake has the perfect texture; it isn’t too dense and it slices beautifully because it holds its shape well.  In my opinion, this recipe makes the best mini cupcakes.  I made mini chocolate cupcakes with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream for coworkers to celebrate an engagement and everyone loved them.  The compliments were endless and people loved the ratio of cake to frosting, so resist the temptation to frost your cupcakes too heavily.  I’ve also included a recipe below for a simple, spreadable chocolate frosting if you don’t have the time or the ingredients to make swiss meringue buttercream.  Update:  I recently made a chocolate layer cake with chocolate swiss meringue buttercream and the chocolate swiss meringue buttercream was amazing.  I highly recommend you try it.  See here for instructions.

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Strawberry Cupcake Recipes (and How to Fill a Cupcake)

In Cupcakes, How-To on July 13, 2011 at am

In June 2011, I took Ed strawberry picking for his first time.  The farm had arranged for someone to play the banjo in the fields while people picked fruit.  It was a fun day until I realized how quickly our beautiful, fresh strawberries were becoming too ripe.  Then there was a mad rush to use them all up.  (See how I freeze strawberries here.)  So I made two different types of strawberry cupcakes, a strawberry flavoured swiss meringue buttercream, and a frozen strawberry pie (recipe here).  I had planned to make strawberry popsicles too, but ran out of steam.  Freshly picked strawberries make a huge difference to the flavour of strawberry desserts.  They also allow you to reduce the amount of sugar that you use.  Please adjust the sugar content of the recipes below based on the tartness of your strawberries.

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Yellow Cupcakes Recipe

In Cupcakes on July 12, 2011 at am

When smitten kitchen claimed to have the best yellow cake recipe, I knew I had to try it.  This is the perfect recipe to use for strawberry shortcake cupcakes (recipe here).  It would also be great with a peanut butter icing and jam filling.  When it comes to layer cakes, however, I prefer to use all purpose flour because I like cakes with a tighter crumb.  See my favourite yellow layer cake recipe here.

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Delicious Carrot Muffins Recipe (you’d never know they were whole wheat)

In Cupcakes on May 19, 2011 at am

These carrot muffins are soft, moist, and not too sweet.  The best part about these muffins is that no one will be able to tell that they were made with whole wheat flour.  I made these for a friend’s birthday and added a cream cheese frosting.  It was the perfect addition of sweetness.  Everyone loved them and several people asked for the recipe.

For these muffins/cupcakes, I prefer to casually spread a light cream cheese frosting over the top (I used the cream cheese frosting recipe posted here).  However, if you prefer a heavier cream cheese frosting that will be stiff enough to pipe after chilling in the refrigerator, use the recipe posted here.  I regret not taking a photo of the frosted carrot muffins/cupcakes.

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Lemon Ricotta Muffins with Lemon Curd

In Cupcakes on July 17, 2010 at pm

When I made mushroom ravioli (recipe here), I bought 2 containers of ricotta cheese but only used one.  Not wanting to use it for the standard pasta dish, I searched the internet for new ideas and found lemon ricotta muffins.  I tried two very highly rated recipes, tweaked my favourite of the two and made lemon curd to go with it.  These muffins are light, lemony, and soft with just a hint of sweetness.  They’re perfect for a summer picnic, bbq, or shower.

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Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Cupcakes

In Cupcakes on March 27, 2010 at pm

I first discovered the concept of cheesecake cupcakes when I made and fell head over heels in love with Peaches and Cream Cheesecake Cupcakes (recipe here).  I love Hershey’s cookies and cream chocolate bars so when I saw these in Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes book, I knew I had to try them.  I really like the crunchy cookie base.  It’s the perfect contrast in texture to the smooth and creamy cheesecake on top.

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Peaches and Cream Cheesecake Cupcakes

In Cupcakes on February 24, 2010 at pm

These are the best cupcakes I’ve ever made or eaten.  The cheesecake has the perfect texture/density and the toppings have the perfect touch of sweetness.  I don’t love cheesecake but I adore these cheesecake cupcakes.  I made them for a bbq in the summer and people Loved them.  I made them again recently for Ed’s mom’s birthday and they were a huge hit with them too.  I ended up making these for my dad’s birthday shortly after that.  It takes some time to make and needs to be refrigerated before serving, but it’s really really simple and definitely worth it.

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Witch Cupcakes

In Cupcakes, Halloween on January 27, 2010 at am

These witch cupcakes were really easy and fun to make.  They were delicious too.

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