Monday, December 20, 2010

I'm No Cupcake Expert...But I Do Love To Eat Them

I am not a cupcake expert. The reference to cupcake in my blog title refers to my dad’s nickname for me when I was young. I do, however, love to eat them.
My friend Shelly recently asked me down to taste a few – namely 14 - that she had to narrow down to just 3 for a Christmas party she was giving.

One of my favorite Cupcakes was from Wildflour Bakery In Lake Bluff

I’ll admit that when I tried them (a little bite from each – Yikes, how many cupcakes would that actually be?) they were all pretty good but in no time at all, we picked 3 and as it turns out, one from each of the 3 bakeries that she bought them from.

As a note, I think that most cupcake bakeries are high-quality but exceptional? I’ve found only one out of a half a dozen that was worth the $4.00 price tag.

Here are two recipes that were as close to the bakery version as we could find.

Bon Appetit!

Eggnog Cupcake with Bourbon Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting


24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup butter, room temp

3 eggs, room temp

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup eggnog

1/4 cup bourbon/dark rum (all of one or a mix)

2 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon each baking powder and soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1. Cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy.

2. Beat in eggs until blended.

3. Mix together eggnog, bourbon, and vanilla.

4. In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg.

5. Alternate adding dry and wet ingredients into egg mixture mixing until combined.

6. Scoop into lined cupcake tins and bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes.

Eggnog Pastry Cream

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup eggnog

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon dark rum

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Place flour in a heavy sauce pan, gradually whisk in eggnog until blended and smooth.

2. Add egg yolks, one at a time, whisking until just combined after each addition.

3. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, removing from the heat occasionally to avoid lumps, until thickened. If necessary strain through a metal sieve to remove lumps.

4. Remove from heat, stir in butter, rum and vanilla.

5. Transfer pastry cream to a bowl. Cover surface with plastic wrap, chill.

Bourbon Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons whipping cream

1 tablespoons butter

pinch salt

2 tablespoons bourbon

1-1/2 packages Philadelphia cream cheese, room temp

1/2 cup butter, room temp

4 cups confectioner's sugar
1. Heat brown sugar, cream, butter, salt over medium high heat whisking until sugar is dissolved. Cook for another minute.

2. Pour in bourbon and stir to combine. Take off heat and let cool.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until soft.

4. Add the confectioner's sugar and beat to combine.

5. Add three tablespoons of the bourbon caramel (you might have some left over) and beat to combine.


1. Fill cooled cupcakes with pastry cream.

2. Top with frosting.

3. Decorate as you wish or drizzle some leftover bourbon caramel sauce.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

Makes 10 cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup canned pumpkin purée (8 ounces), not pie filling

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush or spray the top of 10 muffin tins with vegetable oil and line them with 10 paper liners.

2. Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.

3. Divide the batter among the prepared tins (I use a level 2 1/4-inch ice cream scoop) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.

4. Spread the cupcakes with the Maple Frosting

Note: Also good sprinkled with chopped toffee heath bars.

Maple Frosting

6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon Boyajian Natural Maple Flavor

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter on low speed until smooth. Stir in the maple flavoring and vanilla extract. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.