Peppermint Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Buttercream
And back to cupcakes we go!!
Well readers (if there are any of you out there!) it has been a couple of days since my last post. I know I’ve been neglectful, I apologize. But it has been a crazy busy few days for me, between my job and the out-of-home bakery that I’ve been running. I’ve had a couple crazy orders to fill lately :p. But here we are, back on track with some goodies!
These lovely little treats are my peppermint chocolate cupcakes piped with a peppermint buttercream and with the added bonus of crushed up candy cane pieces. These cupcakes were made as a last minute surprise Christmas gift for my brother’s girlfriend. And, fyi, she loved ‘em! If you aren’t a big mint fan then these bad boys aren’t for you because, admittedly, they are all about the mint.
The cake was a lovely moist chocolate cake. I would give you all the recipe but there really isn’t one. I pretty much just adapted the recipe for my “Death by Oreo” cupcakes to accommodate the peppermint extract and obviously I omitted the oreos. Any baker worth his or her salt could adapt that “Death by Oreo” cupcake recipe to work for almost any style of chocolate cupcake. That recipe definitely worked perfectly in this case, that’s for sure. It was filled with epic amounts of chocolate as per usual of course, but it also served as a great delivery for the peppermint. I eyeballed the peppermint on this one, however, most recipes for peppermint chocolate cupcakes will say to use 1tbsp of peppermint extract at most. I disregard this and always add a little more. Tip #1: peppermint really isn’t nearly as strong as people seem to think. A lot of that wonderfully minty flavour gets cooked off in the oven and by the time all is said and done, you can barely taste the peppermint undertones over the chocolate. I tend to eyeball my peppermint but if you need a measurement, because you’re anal like that, then I tend to go somewhere in the 2tbsp range. Usually a little less, but sometimes a little more.
Now I have to say, though the cake on these cupcakes was absolutely delicious, the real winner in my opinion was the buttercream. Maybe it’s because it’s perfectly snow white and gave that Christmas look or maybe it’s because you could smell the peppermint off the cupcakes just from the buttercream but either way it was aesthetically perfect and absolutely delicious. Just a symphony for the taste buds! The taste, the sent, the texture! But I digress. Tip #2: This is the second time I have said this in this blog, ALWAYS! sift your icing sugar!!! This buttercream definitely needs the icing sugar to be well sifted! It makes for a much smoother, more delicate buttercream. This allows the flavours of the peppermint to really burst through and not be held back by overpowering, lumpy icing sugar!
Again we have a recipe problem. I adapted an already delicious vanilla buttercream recipe for this one so I really don’t have a recipe for you. I would just go with a nice simple vanilla buttercream and then add in the peppermint. Again I eyeballed it so I don’t have measurements for you. If you love love love mint then I’d go with a similar amount as in the cupcakes themselves, maybe a bit less so as not to overpower the senses with mint. Any vanilla buttercream should adapt well to a little peppermint.
Now you might notice something very different about these cupcakes. The piping!! I didn’t do my generally signature swirl! For this passed Christmas, my university friends and I did a secret santa and among other things, she got me a slew of baking supplies, including a new piping bag complete with a coupler and a bunch of tips! So, I decided to try out some new piping styles on these babies. To be completely honest, I just love how the look of these cupcakes turned out! I think they look adorable! It almost looks like a little ball of knotted up minty yarn haha! I also used fancier looking cupcake liners (bought at Ikea of all places!) because they were a Christmas gift, so I wanted them to look at good as possible. And finally the garnish. Broken up pieces of minty minty candy canes. Definitely a mint-tastic tasty addition to these cupcakes. In fact, all these layers of mint made these cupcakes super fun to eat! They gave you this really soothing cooling sensation in your throat!
All and all these cupcakes were super easy to make and decorate and they were taste-tastic. So if there are any mint lovers in the audience, I highly recommend doing something like this! They were a real favourite up in my house, that’s for sure!
Here’s the thing about these cupcakes, they’re delicious but if I make them again there are definitely a few changes I would make. Mainly, the cake. The recipe for the cake portion was simple enough. The problem, however, was the fact that once baked up, it tasted, looked and had the texture of a brownie more than a cupcake. That really bothered me. I found it really dense and heavy; it just didn’t have the traditional cupcake appeal to me. But…this cupcake contains a surprise center! And as you know, I love surprises! Hidden within this brownie cupcakes core is a miniature Reese Peanut Butter Cup!! That was the saving grace to this dense cupcake, the ooey gooey baked in goodness of a mini Reese cup.
Movin’ on up to our beloved buttercream. On these cupcakes clearly I had to go with just what “Cupcakes Take The Cake” recommended, a peanut butter buttcream. I mean really, what else could it have been! You may notice a slight difference between my buttercream and the photos of the buttercream on “Cupcakes Take The Cake”. The recipe presented on “Cupcakes Take The Cake” comes complete with a chocolate glaze to cover the peanut butter buttercream. I was initially planning on following this direction but then I whipped up the buttercream and I just couldn’t do it. The buttercream was so light, fluffy, creamy and just the most delicious looking colour. I couldn’t bare to cover that up. So as a fun alternative, I bought a hershey milk chocolate bar and put a square of chocolate on top of each cupcake. The squares of chocolate made a very cute garnish for the cupcakes and it really brought to mind the nostalgia of the old Reese Peanut Butter commercials, “He got peanut butter on my chocolate!” “He got chocolate on my peanut butter!”. That thought definitely crossed my mind when I was decorating these so I was giggling the entire time. I am a child. I’m at peace with it.
In the end though, I was not the biggest fan of these cupcakes. I had more fun decorating them, then I did eating them. The dense cake just ruined these cupcakes for me, and most people who tried them thought they were tasty but were thrown by the cake as well. They’re definitely store window worthy appearance wise though, and that buttercream! Oh my! If you like peanut butter, dear lord! Make this buttercream! Even if you aren’t making cupcakes, just make it! Do it!
Hello world! I’m sure if anyone actually reads my entries you’re all dying to know how I managed to get such lovely photographs taken of me and my cupcakes! However, this entry is going to be all about “Death by Oreo” cupcakes! So the photo shoot fun will be explained at a later date.
The cake in these cupcakes has to be one of my favourites for sure! I’ve actually used just the cake recipe for many other cupcakes, including my most recent creation shown in the photo shoot. If you like chocolate cake, this is the recipe for you. It’s soft, moist, rich in flavour and absolutely delicious. I think my favourite part of this recipe is that it’s made with both cocoa powder and baker’s chocolate. I know it sounds like such a little thing but it makes a huge difference! Using cocoa powder gives the cake a rich chocolate flavour and a nice texture, which is more then enough for any chocolate lover. However, with the addition of the baker’s chocolate, you get a moist almost melt-in-your-mouth feel in the cake. The way you get this is by mixing up the batter sans baker’s chocolate and then melting the baker’s chocolate, cooling it slightly and adding it into the batter. Once it’s baked up, the cupcakes end up with lines of ooey gooey goodness running through the cake. Fabulous!
Now, I haven’t mentioned this yet throughout my blogging adventure, but I love surprises. And these cupcakes are one big surprise after another. The part that tends to surprise every person who has an opportunity to try one of these tasty treats is the cupcake base. An oreo cookie. I love cupcakes with surprise centers, plus what’s a “Death by Oreo” cupcake without oreos.
The buttercream on these was delicious, however, in my opinion it was a little too buttery. If you’re making this particular buttercream, I recommend cutting down the butter by about one stick. This is a Swiss meringue buttercream, so that does mean lots of egg whites and a bit more complex of a recipe then most buttercream enthusiasts may be used to. Recommendation number 2: ALWAYS! sift your icing sugar! Makes for a much smoother buttercream. The one issue with this delicious frosting, other then the abundance of butter, is the huge problem with piping. The fun and frustrating thing about this buttercream is the addition of the oreo cookie crumbles right into the frosting. The buttercream itself almost tastes like the oreo cookie cream filling and with the addition of the cookie crumbles you get a real oreo cookie flavour. The problem with this is, if the cookies aren’t crumbled to small enough pieces, it blocks the piping bag and makes it very difficult to pipe. Recommendation number 3: Make sure you double or even triple process the oreos before adding them to the buttercream. Hence the reason why my piping job on the 3 cupcakes shown in the above picture is so lack luster. Not my best work admittedly. I got frustrated and lost control of my technique.
Added bonus, however! Though the piping looks mildly craptacular, those mini oreo cookies garnishing the top make them look store window worthy! All in all, fun-tastic cupcakes for sure. They were a real favourite around my house! In fact my brother still talks about them to this day and I made them August 25th, 2010 haha!
Supposedly if you’ve seen over 70 films, you have no life.
teen / romance: [x] the cinderella story  another cinderella story [x] step up [x] step up 2  high school musical  high school musical 2  high school musical 3  hannah montana movie [x] enchanted [x] sydney white total: 5
[x] she’s the man  license to wed [x]the break-up [x] 13 going on 30 [x] 27 dresses [x] p.s i love you [x] made of honour  what happens in vegas  get smart [x] the princess bride total so far: 12
 camp rock  wild child [x] ella enchanted [x] the princess diaries [x] the princess diaries 2: royal engagement [x] 50 first dates  the lizzie mcguire movie  hotel for dogs  just married [x] freaky friday total so far: 17
[x] hot chick [x] sleepover [x] confessions of a shopaholic [x] twilight [x] nancy drew [x] the devil wears prada  no reservations  perfect man  australia [x] never been kissed total so far: 24
comedy / humor:  yes man  bedtime stories  the pink panther  the pink panther 2 [x] marley & me  cheetah girls  cheetah girls 2  bratz  haunted mansion  paul blart mall cop total so far: 25
[x] the 40-year-old virgin [x] night at the museum  night at the museum 2  evan almighty [x] bruce almighty [x] white chicks [x] neverending story  meet the spartans [x] meet the parents  meet the fockers total so far: 31
[x] scream [x] scream 2 [x] scream 3 [x] scary movie [x] scary movie 2 [x] scary movie 3 [x] scary movie 4 [x] american pie [x] american pie 2 [x] american pie 3 [x] american pie band camp total so far: 42
adventures: [x] harry potter 1: the sorcerer’s stone [x] harry potter 2: the chamber of secrets [x] harry potter 3: prisoner of azkaban [x] harry potter 4: goblet of fire [x] harry potter 5: order of phoenix [x] harry potter 6: half blood prince [x] lord of the rings: fellowship of the ring [x] lord of the rings: the two towers [x] lord of the rings: return of the king [x] chronicles of narnia: the lion the witch and the wardrobe [x] chronicles of narnia: prince caspian total so far: 53
[x] indiana jones and the raiders of the lost ark [x] indiana jones and the temple of doom [x] indiana jones and the last crusade [x] indiana jones and the crystal skull [x] the mummy [x] the mummy 2 [x] the mummy 3 [x] journey to the centre of earth  city of ember [x] finding neverland total so far: 62
[x] pirates of the caribbean [x] pirates of the caribbean 2: dead man’s chest [x] pirates of the caribbean 3: at world’s end [x] x-men [x] x-2 [x] x-3 [x] spider-man [x] spider-man 2 [x] spider man 3 [x] king kong total so far: 72
[x] hellboy [x] star wars ep. i the phantom menace [x] star wars ep. ii attack of the clones [x] star wars ep. iii revenge of the sith [x] star wars ep. iv a new hope [x] star wars ep. v the empire strikes back [x] star wars ep. vi return of the jedi  underdog [x] lemony snicket’s: a series of unfortunate events [x] batman: the dark knight total so far: 81 action / thriller [x] the matrix [x] the matrix reloaded [x] the matrix revolutions [x] terminator [x] terminator 2 [x] terminator 3 [x] ocean’s eleven  ocean’s twelve  ocean’s thirteen [x] casino royale 007 total so far: 89
[x] bourne identity [x] bourne supremacy [x] underworld [x] butterfly effect  death note  death note 2  death note 3: l change the world [x] resident evil 1 [x] resident evil 2 [x] i, robot total so far: 96
[x] rush hour [x] rush hour 2 [x] rush hour 3 [x] mission impossible 1 [x] mission impossible 2 [x] mission impossible 3 [x] i am legend [x] predator i [x] predator ii [x] signs total so far: 106
horror: [x] saw [x] saw ii [x] saw iii [x] saw iv [x] saw v  the grinch [x] texas chainsaw massacre [x] texas chainsaw massacre: the beginning [x] the ring  the ring 2 total so far: 114
[x] final destination [x] final destination 2 [x] final destination 3 [x] ghost ship [x] from hell [x] child’s play [x] seed of chucky [x] bride of chucky [x] gothika [x] nightmare on elm street total so far: 124
[x] the grudge [x] the grudge 2  the haunted apartment  siren [x] silent hill [x] the mask [x] son of the mask  alone [x] omen [x] house of wax total so far: 131
 the eye  the eye 2  shutter [x] when a stranger calls [x] the fog  the orphanage  the skulls [x] cruel intentions [x] cruel intentions 2  house of 1000 corpses total so far: 135
cartoons: [x] lilo & stitch [x] ice age [x] ice age 2: the meltdown [x] madagascar  madagascar 2 [x] kung fu panda  bolt [x] wall-e [x] monsters inc [x] shark tale
total so far: 143
[x] shrek [x] shrek 2 [x] shrek 3 [x] finding nemo [x] et [x] cars [x] ratatouille [x] toy story [x] toy story 2 [x] the incredibles total so far: 153
inspirational: [x] little miss sunshine [x] i am sam [x] the day after tomorrow [x] coach carter [x] the last dance  to kill a mockingbird  conrack  midnight sun [x] little black book  rwanda genocide total so far: 159
classics: [x] ten things i hate about you [x] titanic [x] romeo & juliet  a midsummer night’s dream
These cupcakes could not have been more simple. I was actually so shocked. This isn’t actually the greatest photo of the colour but I wasn’t able to get anything better. I made these cupcakes for a friend’s boyfriend’s birthday. I did most of the baking because I’m a bit of a control freak in the kitchen I must admit. However, I got her to help me with the piping and general decorating.
These are red velvet cupcakes. For those who don’t know, red velvet is actually a light chocolate cake that is dyed to a bright red colour. Though they don’t look very red in this picture, I assure you all they were quite vibrant.
These particular cupcakes were a bit of a last minute rush so I didn’t have all the ingredients and had to do a bit of improvisation. Namely on the buttermilk. When we went to the grocery store for supplies, they were all out of both whole milk and buttermilk! So my friend and I bought 2% milk instead and did the next best thing. We made our own buttermilk! This is a pretty simple thing to do surprisingly. For every cup of 2% milk, you add a tablespoon of white vinegar. Leave the milk/vinegar mixture to sit out until it gets to room temperature. Which allows the milk to curdle slightly, creating homemade buttermilk. Sounds gross, I know but it’s great for baking in a pinch.
My favourite part of these cupcakes was the frosting, which was a light and fluffy cream cheese frosting. Pretty much a staple for red velvet cupcakes. This was my first time working with cream cheese in general so I was pretty excited and a tad nervous. But the frosting was just delicious! It was sweet, light and fluffy. Everything a cream cheese frosting should be.
And then the final garnish. Some of the cupcakes had slightly more complex garnish involving gel icing to write words. But these two little guys were my favourite in the garnish department. One little maraschino cherry on top of each. In my opinion it gives the cupcakes are simple yet elegant look which I just loved.
The only problem I had with these cupcakes was the specifications in the recipe. The recipe calls for both vinegar and baking soda. According to this particular recipe, I was supposed to mix up the batter sans vinegar and baking soda. Then mix the baking soda and vinegar together until it gives off the standard foaming reaction then quickly fold it into the pre-made batter. I forgot about this instruction…haha…which means I mixed up the batter and added in the baking soda and vinegar to it without causing the reaction first. Bonus, the reaction occurred inside the bowl with the batter before I incorporated it with my hand mixer. So really the formality of the of the baking soda/vinegar reaction was kind of moot and more then that unnecessary.
I’m not saying ignore your recipes, but this was one part that I didn’t find it necessary to follow. But that’s one avid baker’s opinion. Regardless, I’m hugely fond of red velvet! It’s a fun twist on your regular chocolate cupcake and there’s really nothing like a good cream cheese frosting. There are a million great recipes for both red velvet cupcakes and cream cheese frosting so I recommend mix and matching until you find a combination of recipes you like. That’s what I did, along with a few quick and easy substitutions. It’s a simple cupcake so find what works for you and have fun with it :). Until next time, bon appétit!
Ahh Tumblr, the latest social networking craze. I must admit, I was none too fond of it in the beginning, I think mainly because it was being shoved down my throat. I’m not saying this feeling has dissipated all that much so suddenly, however, I’ve come to realize it could be useful to me now. I have no intention of using this as a way for me to regurgitate googled photos and discuss the latest tween crazes though. I more intend on using it as a tool to start blogging about my baking.
I’ve been baking pretty avidly for about 2 years now, and I’ve been trying to keep a record of it on my computer and through facebook but it isn’t too easy. Very recently, I’ve even started an out-of-home business through facebook selling my baked goods, which admittedly are mainly custom designed cupcakes. So I come to the point of this post. I plan to use tumblr as a way to connect with as many people as possible and share my love for baking, tips and fun recipes and my whole fun time journey through this new business adventure as it were. If anyone actually reads this, enjoy! Bon appétit!