Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cupcake Mania!

Tex here, and has anyone else noticed the popularity of cupcakes? Cupcake shops seem to be sprouting up all over our area. Then, of course, there's Cupcake Wars on The Food Network. Love that show. However, it can be dangerous. Especially when you have three cupcake lovers watching said show.

So after a trip to the store for a few ingredients, my son, daughter, and I whipped up a batch of chocolate cupcakes with ganache and marshmallow frosting.

For the cupcakes, we needed:
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
By the way, this recipe came from www.thefoodnetwork.com/cupcakewars.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two regular size cupcake pans with liners.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the eggs, half-and-half, oil, and vanilla and beat on medium speed for two minutes. Stir in the boiling water until fully combined. (FYI, batter will be thin)

Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full with batter and bake until the cupcakes spring back when touched with your finger, 10-15 minutes. (I think ours took more like 16 minutes) Let cool in the pans for a few minutes, and then removed to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are baking/cooling, prepare the ganache and frosting.

For the chocolate ganache, you will need:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped or chips
In a medium saucepan, bring the whipping cream to a simmer. (You know, almost a boil, but not quite)

Remove from hear and add the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for five minutes. Whisky the mixture until smooth and creamy. (of course, I forgot to take a picture of this part)

For the marshmallow frosting, you'll need:
  • 8 egg whites
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a heat-safe bowl over a saucepan with boiling water. Whisk constantly over the heat for 1-3 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. (sorry, no pix again)

Remove from heat and beat with an electric mixer on high until stiff peaks have formed, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the vanilla.

Now that the cupcakes are cool, the fun really begins. By the way, these were the moistest cupcakes I've ever had. Simply delish.

Baby girl dipped the tops of each cupcake into the ganache, then little brother piped on the frosting.

Of course, she wasn't about to let him have all the fun.

Finally, the best part of all. Eating!

Guess who discovered we had a lot of unused frosting?

What a fun way to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon. And we all felt a sense of accomplishment that we'd tried something new. We made up a few care packages and delivered them to friends and neighbors who were just as delighted with our accomplishments.

Cupcakes are just fun. Individual portions that allow one's creativity to flourish. And when faced with all those choices at a cupcake shop, I don't have to limit myself to just one. Instead, I can get one for now and one for later :-) Like the strawberries and cream cupcake I picked up recently at a nearby cupcake shop. Totally to die for.

What do you think about the cupcake trend? Have you experimented? What's your favorite flavor?


  1. man just give me that chocolate and marshmallow stuff in a bowl and I'll be a happy camper!
    can't say I've made cupcakes since I was a kid - and we usually didn't bother with frosting! yeh we were pretty uncivilized! I"m amazed at all the fancy shapes and stuff - took a peak on pinterest a while back and just shook my head! they're definitely 'cute' though - I love the look of cupcakes and no messy cutting! :-)

    1. Too funny, Susanna. I seem to make cupcakes a lot. Usually just a box mix with canned frosting because that's what my critters like. Quick. Easy. And like you said, no messy cutting. In those instances, I usually eat mine without frosting. but the chocolate and marshmallow was pretty doggone yummy:-)

  2. Since I live alone, I often make cupcakes instead of a cake because it's easier to freeze some and, like you did, give some away. I haven't gotten as fancy as y'all did though. Had no idea what ganache was -- so you've enlightened me. You must have had a lot of that left over as well!

    And the frosting -- interesting because the egg whites aren't baked. I remember having to ditch my mum's royal icing recipe years ago because it had raw egg whites in it and the worry was salmonella poisoning or something like that. Do you guys remember that? Maybe ten years ago or so?

    I think the most adventurous I've ever gotten is making orange icing on chocolate cupcakes. I guess I'll need to expand my horizon.

    1. Kav, like Jan said, I think the heat from the simmering water actually cooks the eggs.

      As for ganache, it's basically just chocolate and whipping cream. This recipe used it in its most basic form, however, if you were to put the bowl over some ice/icewater and beat it, you'd have this magnificent frosting that is to die for.

      I did have a good bit left over, so I put it in an airtight container, laid some plastic wrap over the top, put a lid on it and froze it. It should keep for a month or two. Just in case I decide to do something with it. Otherwise, next time I would probably cut the ganache and frosting recipes in half.

    2. Um...or you could have the most divine fudgsicles on the planet!!! Frozen ganache...yum!!! Maybe as ice cream with raspberries on top? I think I'll have to make this recipe just to play with the leftovers!

  3. How fun! Mindy, I watch Cupcake Wars all the time. Really enjoy it. I see so many crazy ideas of flavors for cupcakes! I can't wait to try this recipe. I love a moist cake!

    BTW, I've never tried making marshmallow. You made it sound easy! I'll have to give it a go. My daughter has been on a cooking binge lately. I'll have to show her this.

    1. Missy, I think you and your daughter would have a ball doing this together.

  4. Susannah, when I was growing up, we never iced anything either. We usually made a sheet cake and ate it plain. Sometimes made cupcakes and ate them plain. My mother just didn't like to bother with icing very often. :)

    Kav, buy pasteurized eggs! That's what I do when I'm craving a runny yolk or want to make something that uses raw eggs in some way. I always had them when my oldest lived at home because he liked runny eggs. I'm too paranoid!

    1. Mmmm, me like runny eggs too :-P

    2. What are pasteurized eggs? We often get eggs from friends who have chooks.

  5. Mindy, you've educated me on ganache, too! It's part of my daughter's vocabulary, but I never knew what it was. Now I feel empowered! I'll surprise them all at the next cupcake baking session (which will be this Saturday - the church picnic is on Sunday and these will be a fabulous addition).

    And Kav, you can make Mindy's frosting because the egg whites do get hot enough as you whisk it over the hot water. The water should be simmering, and whisk the frosting constantly so the egg whites don't just sit and cook into...well...eggs.

    My food-safety conscious husband says salmonella is still a danger - it just isn't on the news as much. The biggest problem is from factory eggs (most eggs you buy at the grocery store). If you use home raised eggs, there isn't as much danger because the chickens tend to be much healthier.

    1. So glad I could empower you, Jan:-)

      These would be great for a church picnic. You could even double the cake recipe, making 48 instead of 24, and you would still have plenty of ganache and frosting.

    2. Jan, now that my oldest doesn't live at home, I quit buying pasteurized eggs. Now I buy free range eggs. You'll have to ask hubby if they're any safer than regular factory eggs. :)

    3. Thanks for that info Jan...I actually buy organic free range eggs so hopefully the chickens are as healthy as home raised, right? Plus I've never heard of pasturized eggs except on here. Haven't seen them in the grocery stores in my area. Wonder if they're only available in the states? I had to google pasturized eggs to figure out what they were. LOL.

    4. Missy, I'm not going to ask my husband.

      He follows the government rules 'cause he has to. The government is VERY picky about what kinds of things sick people eat - compromised immune systems and all that.

      I follow the house rules: common sense - healthy chickens = healthy eggs.

      I also follow hubby's rule of thumb: "when in doubt, throw it out."

      But I still don't eat eggs raw...except in cookie dough :)

    5. LOL! My daughter begged to eat her sugar cookie dough the other day. I told her to do so at her own risk. I would NOT be holding her head while she was sick. :)

      She followed Ruthy's lead and took a good big bite. Told me it was worth the risk. :)

    6. We have chickens and one of my friends was letting her daughter eat cookie dough because it had eggs from our chickens so there 'was no risk of salmonella'. I had to actually pull up a statistics page to convince her it was still there! Smaller, but still there.

      We still avoid raw eggs, or undercooked eggs. Excpet for my husband because he has an iron stomach and nothing would ever hurt him

      NOT from my cooking! Just from growing up without refrigeration.

    7. Missy I am with your daughter and Ruthy, I love cookie dough and never gotten sick eating it and have been since I could walk. Never even considered it could be an issue til a friend said she doesn't eat it cos of the egg.

      Oh if an egg has a crack in the shell toss it. its not worth the risk. I got food poisoning because I cooked a egg which was cracked on the top. didn't know it was an issue. I dont know how long I had it a couple of weeks, but I was sick before I even finished eating the eggs.

  6. AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!


    And we just got a gourmet cupcke shop. I went in there and bought twi cupcakes for $6. I thought that was such a rip off until I ate mine. OH MAN. Chocolate with raspberry inside and raspberry infused chocolate whipped topping.

    P.S. Your kids are ADBORABLE! (Or at that age, super cool.)

    1. Virginia, I feel the same way when I pay about the same price. 'Tis indeed worth it though.

    2. Haha! Sorry for the typos. I was typing in the dark this morning. ADBROABLE? What on earth is that?

  7. Can I ask what is half and half? I thought it was a error missing the ingredient but figure its an ingredient. I couldn't get the original recipe to open for me.
    They do look yummy. I am off sweets to a big degree cake etc doesn't really appeal to me but a cup cake would be different.

    they do look yummy.

    1. Half and half is just half cream and half milk, so for one cup of half and half, use 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup milk.

      Easy, isn't it?

      We Americans are just too lazy to measure out the stuff ourselves, I guess...

    2. so do you actually buy it like that or you buy milk and cream? I hadn't heard of this before. I guess our recipe would say half a cup of milk and half a cup of cream.

    3. Jenny, we buy it that way. Like Jan said, we're lazy:-)

  8. Missy and Jan, thanks for keeping up with things for me. Been away from the computer unt quite a while.

    Missy, a life without cookie dough or cake batter would be terrible. Sometimes you have to live in the wild side. I prefer to think of it as building up my immunities:-)