Malted Chocolate Cupcakes – Baked Sundaes!

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These malted chocolate cupcakes are topped with fresh whipped cream, sprinkles and a Maraschino cherry.

I also filled the cakes with a “Whoppers” buttercream (using ground Whoppers choclate malted milk balls) to add to the malt flavor (which unfortunately was largely masked in the cake itself). The buttercream filling adds a needed sweetness and moisture so that the cupcake doesn’t end up tasting like a black forest cherry cake. Which, would be interesting to try . . . hmmmmm . . .

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Peppermint Chocolate Cupcakes – A Late-Night Snack

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I was hungry one night. So I said to my assistant: “Why don’t we bake something? Will you help me?” What a dear husband I have.

For the mint chocolate lovers out there like me:

This is a chocolate cupcake with peppermint ganache filling. I used the Cooks Illustrated recipe for Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Filling that I previously blogged about, but added peppermint extract to the ganache. The frosting is a peppermint buttercream (add peppermint extract to any basic buttercream recipe). I then topped off the cupcakes with dark chocolate mint leaves, which were made by brushing tempered chocolate on the back of mint leaves, and then peeling off the leaves once the chocolate has set.

I’ve made these cupcakes a few times before, but I think the use of Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes this time around was a vast improvement over the one-bowl chocolate cupcakes that Martha Stewart’s book suggests. However, ultimately, the mint leaves are what make these cupcakes so special.

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Pig-Pickin’ Cupcakes – And a Baby Shower

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Pig-Pickin’ Cake (also sometimes called Pig-Lickin’ Cake or Mandarin Orange Cake) is apparently a tradition at a southern barbecue. It is usually served as a layered cake, but this is my vision of it as a cupcake.

The cake portion is essentially a variation on my orange cupcakes, using pureed mandarin oranges instead of orange juice concentrate. I filled these cupcakes with pineapple pudding (crushed pineapples and vanilla pudding), which is what is usually used as the layered frosting. Then I topped the cupcakes off with whipped frosting (a cross between fresh whipped cream and meringue frosting that holds its shape a little better than whipped cream—I had to make sure these would survive a 2-hour drive). Finally, to class these up a bit for a baby shower, I decorated with gum paste flowers, which were brushed with yellow pearlescent powder and accented with pearlized sprinkles. So fun to make!

You can find a recipe for Pig-Pickin’ Cake with a simple search online, but here is what I did for the cupcakes:


* 1 (18 ounce) box yellow cake mix

* 1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges in juice

* 4 eggs

* 2/3 – 3/4 cup vegetable oil (I prefer to use less)

* 1/4 tsp vanilla extract


* 1 (6 ounce) can crushed pineapple (some recipes call for the larger can, but the smaller portion works better as a cupcake filling)

* 1 (8 ounce) container whipped topping (thawed)

* 1 (3.4 ounce) box instant vanilla pudding


* 3 large egg whites

* 3/4 cup sugar

* Pinch of salt

* 1/3 cup water

* 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans (this recipe should make 24 cupcakes). In a mixing bowl, combine cake mix, mandarin oranges (with juice), eggs, oil and vanilla extract. Beat until mandarin oranges break up. Pour into cupcake liners (about 2/3 full) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Note: Do not overfill the liners, as this batter will spill over the edges rather than form a tall mound. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, turn out of pans and finish cooling on wire racks.

In a mixing bowl, combine whipped topping, pineapple (with juice), and vanilla pudding mix. Carve out the center of the cooled cupcakes and fill with the pineapple pudding.

Frosting: In a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine the 3 large egg whites, 3/4 cup sugar, pinch of salt and 1/3 cup water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high until glossy, stiff peaks form (do not overbeat), about 3 minutes; reduce speed to low, add 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and beat just until combined. Use immediately.

Simple, and yummy. Enjoy!

I also made baby block cakes for the baby shower. These were brown sugar pound cake with brown sugar cream cheese frosting. It was a learning experience in working with fondant and trying to have a steady hand while piping royal icing. Let’s just say, we are giving ourselves an A for effort, and a below average grade for execution =)

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