Colorado Cupcake

in search of the perfect high altitude cupcake

 

Mini Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes July 28, 2011

Filed under: Cooking Experiments,Everything else — Cristine @ 9:53 pm

Yesterday Brian was eating some Cookies and Cream ice cream and I thought hmmm, that would be a perfect flavor baked. I tried mini cheesecakes instead of cupcakes today, just for a change of pace (plus I won’t eat them all ūüôā¬† I also tried out the pinwheel design pattern on these that I saw in MS magazine.¬† It’s hard to get the design perfect, I’ll have to keep working on that, the piping is a little sticky, I bet if I made my own…it would have more flavor then too.

Oh, almost forgot, as I was checking out of the grocery store, I spied Cookies and Cream already made frosting. I had to try it… note to you, it’s not so hot. Probably because it’s ready made but I’m not a big fan (and you won’t find it on any of these). But if you see it in the store, you can skip it, in my opinion.¬† I just had to take it for a test drive since it had the potential of fitting in perfectly. Thanks for taste testing as usual.. I think next time will be banana honey cupcakes, probably this week.¬† Enjoy!

 
 

Cupcake Wars bakery

Filed under: Cupcakes,Everything else — Cristine @ 9:38 pm


 While on vacation in LA, I visited a bakery from the Cupcake Wars TV show. Naturally, I tried the cream cheese frosting flavors.

I bought 18 minis, I only ate 4 and forgot the rest in LA.

 

Bought 18 minis

Their chocolate mint was good, more minty than mine but I thought their frostings were a little too sweet (so did my companions).

Last week, here at home, I tried some cakes from The Sugar King. Again, just more encouragement that I really prefer mine! Maybe it’s just that cupcakes should not be refrigerated!¬† In any case, the challenge for me, is still finding the perfect HIGH ALITITUDE cupcake, so these were mainly to try flavor comparisons. They were nice and moist, which is much easier when you don’t live in a semiarid dessert, get it, dessert?

 
 

Chocolate Chip Cupcakes w/dark chocolate icing June 16, 2011

Filed under: Cooking Experiments,Cupcakes — Cristine @ 3:06 pm

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† This vanilla batter was sooo delicious. I could hardly keep from eating the entire bowl before I added in the whipped egg whites. I made sure the eggs were room temperature… I’ve read that makes a difference.

This dark chocolate frosting consisted of both cacao AND regular dark chocolate added to sugar. Pretty chocolatey! It doesn’t have the best consistancy if you want big frosting tops, it’s rather thick but I don’t mind that in exchange for the fudginess.

I didn’t do much for the altitude adjustment this time- I just added a bit of extra soy milk (I don’t usually use soymilk but I couldn’t find a small container of milk at Target).¬† I think they could have been a little more moist. Next time, I’ll have to go back and check my other posts to remember exactly what I did for the altitude as it’s been 6 months since I baked!¬† The photo below is the chips added to the batter. The frosting was pure melted chocolate!

Dark Chocolate Frosting.

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
2 1/4 sticks (8 oz) butter
3/4cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

I made these for the CItywide night of worship/homeless event ¬†in downtown Colorado Springs. Hopefully I’ll get some feedback!

 
 

Chocolate Mint Cupcake December 27, 2010

Filed under: Cooking Experiments,Cupcakes — Cristine @ 8:37 pm

These cupcakes¬†turned out moist and minty. ¬†I’ve never had to go through so much work to make a frosting. We’re talking double boiling, sieving, tempering (which keeps egg yokes from curdling in case you were wondering).¬†To make the frosting, I first added milk, vanilla and freshly chopped mint leaves to a saucepan.¬† Then, ¬†I separated 2 eggs and then added sugar to the yokes and (this was new to me) took the mixing pan from my Kitchen Aid and put it right on top of a simmering saucepan to make a double boiler. Fancy fancy.¬† Then the milk mixture is added 1/3 of it, in with the yokes, averaged the temperature, and all is back into the saucepan. It’s finally sieved and a sweet minty liquid emerges.¬† That wasn’t all however, next were the egg whites and butter.¬†

The cakes called for dutch cocoa powder. I have to admit, I’ve shyed away from chocolate before now because I couldn’t find the powder. I must have not been looking hard enough. This time, one trip to my fav. Whole Foods (man i love that store, every day is like Christmas)¬† and I had no trouble finding dutch cocoa powder.¬†WF had it in 3 varieties. *Note to self,¬†the Ghirardelli is actually dutch, it says so in small print on the back. Seems like they’d mention that up front. As I’ve learned, DCP is treated with an alkali to neutralize its acids.¬†¬†Because it is neutral and does not react with baking soda, it must be used in recipes calling for baking powder,¬† over natural cocoa.¬† Interesting.¬† And again, as a high altitude adjustment, I added 1/4 more milk, a¬†tad less sugar and baking powder¬†to the cakes and they were decliciously moist and perfect.¬† Here’s a link to the cakes basically:

I also took taste tester Tammy’s advice and made these cakes larger than I had been. I think that was a good idea, they’re much more satisfying a size!

As for the frosting, the recipe had way too much butter in it (4 sticks yuck) so I cut it in half, and ended up adding some of a pre-packaged icing mix (which was pretty much sugar and vanilla) and cream cheese (as usual).¬† I kept the rest of the egg/mint concoction in there. I think that was a nice end however, I still need to come up with a good butter cream recipe. I’ve never been a fan of the stuff but maybe I can find one that works for me.¬† Does anyone really like buttercream??¬†¬†¬†

¬†I also read a good frosting¬†hint-¬†Add milk only at the end to get the desired consistency or eliminate it altogether if you don’t need it. And plan for some chilling time before you frost with it.

 
 

Tres Leches cupcakes October 6, 2010

Filed under: Cooking Experiments,Cupcakes — Cristine @ 6:44 pm

NOTE: I am redoing these cupcakes. The recipe didn’t say to put the milk bath on while they were still warm. I think they’d soak better that way… and with some little holes poked in. The first batch was a FAIL. I will try again.

For this month, I’m making a traditional Latin recipe, to practice what I’m thinking I’ll do for the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce event (no word on the date yet, I hope that goes through).¬†¬†Tres Leches Cake ‚Äď Also called Three-Milk Cake is¬†a dense, moist cake topped with a cloud of vanilla whipped cream. Tres leches cake is particularly popular in Nicaragua, Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Guatemala.¬†The interesting part about this Latin American recipe is that the cake, after baked, bathes in a sweet milk concoction of¬†three different milk products: evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and whole milk or heavy cream, hence the name Tres Leches.¬† The three milks when combined, make just the right amount of sweetness and moistness, making it moist but not mushy.¬†

So far, these have these have cupcakes have been the easiest to make. The whipped cream topping is super simple, just heavey cream and sugar. I wish I had some fresh Chinese cinnamon, I think it would be great on the top, regular cinnamon will have to do!¬†¬† The batter by itself is pretty plain, it’s the soaking that give them flavor. A variation of these¬†could be a dulce leches flavor, which¬†usually incorporates caramel and which were very popular in Florida at Cuban restaurants.

You have to make sure that if you make these, you get the muffin liners that have both a paper and a foil wrapper. If you don’t, the milk bath will soak through the wrapper. I saw some blogs where people actually transferred them to little paper cups-seems an extra unecessary step if you ask me!

Afternote: I should have poked holes in them when they were hot, too bad I¬†didn’t read more recipes before I tried them to compare.¬†The milk did not want to soak in. I’m thinking they didn’t make the cut, pretty much a fail. I don’t think I’ll attempt these again as to me, though it’s traditional they’re too bland for my taste. I might add more sugar or vanilla, but then, they wouldn’t be as true. No wonder everyone does the dulce leche (the caramel version which came after tres).

We’ll see what you say. I hope you enjoy!

 
 

First cupcake Gig! September 21, 2010

Filed under: Cooking Experiments,Cupcakes — Cristine @ 2:30 pm

Yay, I got my first cupcake gig! I’m making cupcakes for the Denver Spanish Chamber of Commerce¬† for Innovative Aesthetics! Thank you Carolene! I’m super excited. I’m going to make some business cards and maybe I’ll get some other orders sometime ūüôā Eventually, I’d like a little shop that my Mom and my future toddler can run ūüėČ

 
 

Zucchini Spice Cupcakes September 16, 2010

Filed under: Cooking Experiments,Cupcakes — Cristine @ 9:29 pm

I wanted these,¬†I’m-in-the-mood-for-fall, spiced cupcakes¬†to have some extra oomph.¬†¬†So,¬†I went to the Savory Spice shop over the weekend and got a tour and some insight into¬†many spices.¬†Apparently there are quite a few types of cinnamon.¬†

¬†I ended up getting¬†‘Vietnamese Cassia’ aka ‘Saigon Cinnamon’. Saigon cinnamon has 1-5% essential oil in content and 25% essential oil- that just¬†means it’s very spicy and hot like a candy-hot as opposed to sweetish, like Chinese¬†Cinnamon (think cinnamon toast).¬†¬†

The MS cupcake club requests that we do not, as they are from a purchased recipe book, post the entire recipe.¬†¬†You can find the recipe posted elsewhere if you really want to look ūüėȬ† I was surprised that the cake contained only brown sugar, not sure if that’s any better health wise (probably not, I’ll just pretend).¬† In the end, they’re definitely a cupcake, not a bread.¬†

¬†I also have to say that her cream cheese frosting is exactly what I’d hoped a cream cheese frosting would be. DELICIOUS. I’m a little sad because it’s so perfect that I don’t feel I have to search for another. Maybe a little less cheesiness, so you can’t single out the cream cheese would make me happy.¬† I just added my usual high-altitude adjustments and also, freshly ground the cloves and nutmeg. Also, the mix has lemon zest which I thought was interesting and unexpected.

Annabelle supervising

Annabelle supervising

 
 

Billy’s Buttercream Cupcakes July 26, 2010

Filed under: Cooking Experiments,Cupcakes — Cristine @ 7:04 pm

  HA= high altitude adjustment

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar ¬†(HA – 2 tbl)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder¬† (HA -1/4 teaspoon)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk¬† (HA + 3 tbl)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Billy’s Vanilla Buttercream
  • Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees (HA 345 ish). Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
    2. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
    3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full (HA 3/5).  Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.  (HA 15 min)
    4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter. Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

    ______________________________

    Wow, this batter is super light and fluffy.

    The first batch tasted absolutley perfect. Not too sweet, not too bland. I baked them for 15 min. A few of them were undercooked in the center, just a smidge. These parts were moist like I like them, so the second batch, I let cook for 14 minutes instead of 15.

    Frosting- Billys Vanilla Buttercream

    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar (6)
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    Directions

    1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add 6 cups sugar, milk, and vanilla; mix until light and fluffy. If necessary, gradually add remaining 2 cups sugar to reach desired consistency. (note I used 6 cups of sugar because I don’t like things too sweet. The taste was good but it was a bit runny. Next time, I’ll cut back a bit on the milk).

     

     
     

    Birdie Bread June 26, 2010

    Filed under: Parrot Recipes — Cristine @ 11:39 pm

    I made the classic “birdie bread” tonight. Annabelle was being very persnickety today. First I made her a lovely red potato mash with peas and carrots- wouldn’t touch it except to throw it on the floor.¬† Next she had a berry mix… black, blue, straw… she wasn’t having it.¬† Finally I resorted to making homemade birdie bread for the week (yes she is spoiled). I’m finding, for all you birdie break makers, that she really prefers the cornbread mix with some cranberry or other fruit juice and PLENTY of veges mixed in.¬† I think today’s bread didn’t have enough veges because she kept making her hungry noises until she finally received plain ole frozen corn and carrot.¬† Oh well, maybe Brian will eat the potato mash- he’ll never know the difference ūüôā

     
     

    new baking cup experiment

    Filed under: Cupcakes — Cristine @ 11:30 pm

    I splurged and got the $20 cupcake pans from Target’.¬† They say they’re non-stick. I thought, well, let’s get some testing a-goin’.¬†¬† I sprayed baking PAM on them, but I did not use any cupcake liners. Man, they sure stuck. So much for non-stick. I’m hoping the fancy set I got for a wedding present (which is still in storage) fares better than the target ones. Cupcake liners are nice but sometimes you just don’t want that look. I tried getting the cakes out both while they were hot and cool and neither worked. By the way, the cakes themselves turned out pretty well.. tasted good, but I won’t even pain you with a picture of their sorry shapes after being finagled out of the pan.¬† Experiment #1, no liners…FAIL.