Chunky Monkey Cupcakes and My First Cake

Chunky Monkey cupcakes made of sweet banana cake topped with peanut butter cream cheese icing and a look back at my very first cake.

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

Cupcakes to Cake

You guys know I am all about the cupcakes. Every week you guys watch me pull flavors together into bite-sized mouthfuls of joy and call them cupcakes. And being MsCupcakeasaurus, why wouldn’t I be?

Something you may not know is that I have been caking for almost eight years. By caking, I don’t just mean whipping a mix together and slathering icing over it.

The Art of Caking

Caking involves idea preparation by gathering source materials and analyzing size and shape to determine the best fit for the cake being prepared. It means drawing up plans and sketches and paying attention to all the little details. It means sculpting the cake like a statue emerging from marble. Caking is art after all.

 

Free Baking Conversion Cheat Sheet

Over the years, I have not always taken pictures or written step by step tutorials or documented every step of the journey along the way. I make cakes because I enjoy caking. I enjoy bringing the food to art and the art to food.

Flavor combinations are my chemistry experiments and dimensional cakes are my masterpieces. I love playing with new techniques, new materials or ingredients. One of the reasons I enjoy caking so much is that it feels like an art form that I can continuously learn from. That, and they taste good.

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

 Today, I will be sharing with you my very first ever caking endeavor.

You may have noticed that I have been caking for as long as I have been a mom. The very first cake I really put my heart and soul into was for Little Cakeasaurus Rex’s first birthday. When he isn’t busy being a dinosaur, he is busy being a monkey. We lovingly nicknamed him Monkey since he was a baby.

As any over zealous mom would be, I created a theme of monkeys and immediately started developing ideas for his main cake and his smash cake. He had blow-up monkeys to toss around, monkey plates and napkins and of course a monkey cake. He had a cake for his guests and he had a personal smash cake.

The Smash Cake

Every little kid needs a smash cake for their first birthday. It is the tradition! I love smash cakes for the little ones. That first birthday is all about seeing their little eyes bulge out of their heads with sugar. There is nothing like taking that first fistful of delicious cake.

Heap of Bananas birthday cake

For the smash cake, I decided to go with a German chocolate cake and have the coconut frosting serve as the textured monkey fur. Admittedly, my skills at the time were limited and the monkey face looked more like a bear but Little Cakeasaurus Rex loved it. He had no problem figuring out what to do with his smash cake. Hands in the cake and then straight to the mouth.

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

Little Chunky Monkey

I love watching little ones feed themselves at this age because they still fist their food and are practically licking their palms. Too cute!

I’ll remember next time that monkey ears should be more on the side of the face rather than on the top. Also, don’t mind the little yellow hair tuft I tried to create. Monkeys can be blonde too, right?

Heap of Bananas birthday cake

 

The Guest Cake

The cake for the guests was a large vanilla sheet cake with a large mound of banana cake on top. I was so inexperienced and had no clue what I was doing. I went totally overboard on measuring out how much cake I would need for a one-year-old’s birthday party. In true First Time Mom fashion, I made enough to feed everyone at the party, the park and halfway down the street.

To give you an idea, I had no clue how to even carry this large of a cake to a park two blocks from the house. I purchased a huge white plastic cutting board and that became my caking station. I still use this cutting board as my preferred surface for rolling fondant or cutting out biscuits.

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

In all honesty, I baked two 9×12 inch cakes for the base. I slid them together and covered them with icing. If you are counting, that is a total of four standard cakes for one party. This was the first time I would bake that much cake for one party but it definitely wasn’t  the last.

Heap of Bananas birthday cake

If you are wondering, it is no secret how I made the dome-shaped cake. I didn’t have a pan that shape that is for sure. I actually used a stainless steel mixing bowl and baked it right in the oven.

Obviously, be careful when using alternative baking pans but, the bowl worked out great and I still use it for other caking endeavors. I will remind you to take a good look at the shape of the bowl though. If you are wanting a hill shape like I was, you will want a shallower bowl to create a soft mound. However, I have also used a much deeper mixing bowl to create the Drunken Carolina Cake so that I had enough space for good sized cake layers.

Heap of Bananas birthday cake

Monkey Time

The idea I was wanting to create was a mischievous monkey sitting atop a huge pile of bananas. The pile of bananas had to be made of banana cake of course. The banana cake wasn’t going to be enough though.

Nothing quite looks like a pile of bananas than a pile of bananas. After icing, I also completely covered the mound in Banana Rama candy pieces I purchased from a local candy shop.

Heap of Bananas birthday cakeOriginally, all the bananas were going to be yellow bananas but this is a very mischievous monkey and he needed some colored bananas too. The monkey was a purple monkey bath toy so it was super safe for the kiddo to enjoy long after his party was over.  A funky colored monkey totally deserves a pile of funky colored bananas.

Heap of Bananas birthday cake

To add a bit more decoration without going overboard any further, I added Piroulines around the outside edge of the sheet cake which provided great bamboo. A few green leaves and blades of grass with green icing and I had my masterpiece.

Heap of Bananas birthday cake

Can you tell I was proud of myself? I made a little card label with a silly monkey sticker for good measure. I am so proud that this was my first caking adventure. It brings back wonderful memories of my little one’s first birthday and it was the start of a wonderful adventure I still pursue today.

Still A Monkey

The kiddo still embraces his monkey side by collecting cute monkeys we find on our adventures. Currently, we have one from Cape Canaveral and Tampa Zoo.  Just a few weeks ago, I offered my little monkey a special treat.

I treated LCR to Chunky Monkey Cupcakes!

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

These moist banana cupcakes remind me very much of that original banana cake but in smaller cupcake form.  Top that off with a peanut butter cream cheese icing and you will be making all the monkeys smile.

Even walking down memory lane, I couldn’t leave you hanging without a scrumptious cupcake recipe to keep you satisfied.

You have now seen where the caking magic started. Tell me about your baking start. Do you remember your first real baking endeavor as an adult? I clarified that sentence because I was baking and cooking tons growing up. This one just sticks out in my mind as the first cake I researched and planned and put my heart and love into making.

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes

Do you have that one dish or cake that sparked your love for it? I’d love to hear all about it or better yet, see it.

Chunky Monkey Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Chunky Monkey cupcakes made of sweet banana cake topped with peanut butter cream cheese icing
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Chunky Monkey Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Chunky Monkey cupcakes made of sweet banana cake topped with peanut butter cream cheese icing
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Ingredients
Banana Cupcakes
Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Icing
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Banana Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat bananas, eggs and sugar on medium high speed until forming a thick mash.
  3. Add vegetable oil to the banana mixture and mix thoroughly.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
  6. Using a spatula, fold in vanilla extract. Spoon batter into cupcake tim filling cups 3/4 full.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Toothpick will come out clean when cupcakes are done. Cool on a cooling rack before icing.
Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Icing
  1. In a large mixing bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat softened cream cheese until smooth and fluffy.
  2. Add in half a cup of peanut butter and mix on medium speed until well bleneded.
  3. Add powdered sugar to cream cheese mixture a cup at a time mixing thoroughly between each addition.
  4. Add milk and vanilla extract and mix until well blended.
  5. *Taste it. Your icing can be more sweet or nutty depending on how much sugar or peanutbutter you add. I prefer a light and sweet flavor so I stuck with 2 cups powdered sugar and a 1/2 cup of peanutbutter. If you want a thicker peanut butter flavor, just add more peanut butter.*
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Gluten Free Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcakes

These Gluten Free Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcakes are made with organic coconut flour. The chocolate cupcake is rich and soft while the edible cookie dough topping is creamy and delicious.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Outward Baking

There is one thing about baking that I just can’t dispute. Baking tastes best when you are feeding another person. There is some magic that mixes into the batter when you are focused on pleasing that special someone.

After mastering the tastebuds of my own home, I spent this Summer reaching out to others to try and please their taste buds as well. Whether I was grabbing inspiration from their direct quotes (Vera’s Peach Spice Cupcake with Kiwi Sparkler Icing), their passionate causes (Free the Nipple Black Forest Cupcakes), or their loving mom (Baby Z’s Perfectly Pear Cupcakes and Wonder Woman Egg Free Red Velvet Cupcakes), I enjoyed every minute of the journey creating their custom cupcake creations.

If you are interested in having a custom cupcake recipe created for you or someone you love, send me an email and we can work out the details. I would love to hear from you!

Baking Season

As Autumn fast approaches, baking season is fully underway. To stay ahead of the game, you will want to grab my Free Baking Conversion Cheatsheet to hang in your cabinet or up on the frig. Convert measurements and adjust your favorite recipes in minutes so you aren’t getting schmutz on your phone or tablet mid-recipe. An extra bonus is that you will also have exclusive access to my Sweet Resource Library that is constantly growing.

Free Baking Conversion Cheat Sheet

To finish the Summer strong, I wanted to feature another custom cupcake recipe. Just like Beauty Bae’s Blueberry Blue Velvet Cupcakes, this one was for another young woman from the United Kingdom.

If I keep making these international connections, I am definitely going to be needing a food scale so I can provide the recipes in grams and milliliters instead of cups and teaspoons. Utilizing the Baking Conversion Cheat Sheet as well as the Basic Ingredient Baking Conversion Cheat Sheet (both located in the Sweet Resource Library), all of my recipes can be converted, however, results may vary slightly.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcakes

As Seen On Jean

This week I was baking for Jean of As Seen On Jean. She is a teacher who decided to write a blog and I am so glad she did. Her posts provide tips, reviews and real-life advice about all sorts of products and services.  I am especially in love with her Monthly Favorites section where Jean tells you her favorite products of the month and usually includes ways to win some of those items too. How cool is that?

I have a special soft spot for teachers since my mother is a lifelong teacher herself. I was excited to get to work on Jean’s cupcake so she can enjoy it as her students begin to return to school.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Gluten-Free Recipe Development

Her requirements seemed simple. She wanted a gluten-free chocolate cupcake.

Guess who had to make it complicated? If your first and only guess is me then you’d be correct!

Though I enjoy exploring recipes outside of my comfort zone like the Bold and Free Vegan Avocado Chocolate Cupcakes, they do take a bit more research and development. I had never made an intentionally gluten-free recipe before, let alone created a recipe for one.

What’s  Gluten?

There are many reasons that people choose to remove gluten from their diet. For more information regarding gluten and the health effects of consuming gluten, I found this article very informative. 

Gluten is a group of proteins that are found in grains like wheat, rye, and barley. When baking cupcakes, the gluten component would be in the all-purpose flour that is traditionally used. The trick here is to find an alternative that performs like flour but does not have gluten.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcakes

All in the Coconut

Gluten-free flour alternatives are fairly easy to obtain, which was a pleasant surprise. I chose to explore an Organic Coconut Flour because I have worked with coconut oil and coconut spread before and have enjoyed those results.

I will warn that these alternative flours sometimes require additional tweaks to your favorite recipes because they are not a one for one substitution for all-purpose flour. In the case of coconut flour, I reduced the amount of flour used overall and I needed to add additional liquid to make the consistency of the cupcake more desirable.

Maybe it is common sense but it definitely did not occur to me until after the taste test. Coconut flour will make the recipe taste like coconut. I know, novel concept, right?

Well, the original idea was to have a somewhat traditional chocolate cupcake (even if gluten-free) and then top it with an edible chocolate chip cookie dough. I mean, all cookie dough is edible but we feel better if it doesn’t have raw eggs included.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Almond Joy Love

After creating this delectable Gluten Free Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcake combo, I took one bite and my only thought was, “Wow this tastes like an Almond Joy!”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love a delicious chocolate coconut treat like an Almond Joy any day. This just wasn’t quite my intended outcome with the Gluten Free Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcakes. Had I realized sooner, I would have probably played up the Almond Joy aspect and decorated the tops with a chocolate covered almond or something similar.  It is certainly something to consider when you make this recipe at home.

Favorites

Captain Cupcakeasaurus is sometimes reluctant to try alternative diet recipes. Both he and Little Cakeasurus Rex LOVED these cupcakes. In so many ways, you can’t really go wrong with chocolate.

Due to the heavy coconut flavor, I would not recommend this recipe as an alternative to traditional chocolate cupcakes. However, they certainly hold their own as a tasty chocolate coconut treat.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcakes

I hope Jean enjoys the coconut flavor as much as my family did. You can check out her favorites for the month and enjoy one of the Gluten Free Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcakes for yourself.

Don’t forget to let Jean know how much you love her custom cupcake flavor at As Seen on Jean. As always, please share your results with me too. You can tag @mscupcakeasaurus on Instagram.

Today we made life taste sweeter gluten-free style.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcakes
Gluten Free Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcakes
Print Recipe
These Gluten Free Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcakes are made with organic coconut flour. The chocolate cupcake is rich and soft while the edible cookie dough topping is creamy and delicious.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Gluten Free Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcakes
Gluten Free Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcakes
Print Recipe
These Gluten Free Chocolate Cookie Dough Cupcakes are made with organic coconut flour. The chocolate cupcake is rich and soft while the edible cookie dough topping is creamy and delicious.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Ingredients
Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit In a large bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat eggs and sugar on medium-high speed.
  2. In a small microwaveable bowl, place about a half a cup of semi sweet chocolate morsels. Microwave on high heat for ten seconds. Stir. Microwave for an additional 5-10 seconds until chocolate is melted and smooth. A half cup of semi chocolate morsels will be more than one Tablespoon melted, the remainder will be used for the Cookie Dough topping.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, cocoa powder and salt.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture a little at a time and mixing thoroughly between each addition.
  5. Add coconut oil, brewed coffee, and melted semi sweet chocolate morsels. Mix on medium speed until well blended.
  6. Fill lined cupcake tin 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on baking rack before adding topping.
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Total Solar Eclipse Lemon and Blackberry Cupcakes

Celebrating the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse, I have created for you a Total Solar Eclipse lemon cupcake with a blackberry cream cheese filling and blackberry buttercream frosting.

Total Eclipse Lemon and Blackberry Cupcakes

 

Happy Thursday Loves!

I know I usually don’t post my cupcake recipes until Friday but I wanted you to have enough time this weekend to get these whipped up before the big event Monday.

Total Solar Eclipse

If you are in the US, a very special event is happening this Monday and is the inspiration for this cupcake.

This Monday, August 21, the United States will be experiencing a total solar eclipse spanning from coast to coast. The last time the United States experienced a solar eclipse crossing the Atlantic to the Pacific like this was June 8, 1918.

Band of Totality

The band of totality (the region where the total eclipse will be most visible) will be a seventy-mile wide band that stretches from South Carolina to Oregon. The states the band will cross through are as follows: South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon (1).

Of course, the band of totality will be sweeping right through North Carolina (my old home state) while I’m sitting down here in Florida viewing only a partial eclipse.

Baking Conversion Cheat Sheet

NASA

My family thoroughly enjoys space wonders just like this. I mean, my husband and I did get married in a planetarium after all.

Just a few weeks ago we visited the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral and were able to have first-hand experience with NASA and their explorations.  That is a post for a different day though.

However, if you are interested in learning more about the solar eclipse, NASA is an awesome resource and you can learn all about what to expect during the eclipse. They also advise how to view the eclipse safely.

*WARNING: For your safety, please know that looking directly at the sun is extremely dangerous. Even sunglasses and tanning goggles are not adequate protection for viewing the eclipse. Please make sure to only use approved viewing glasses or make your own NASA approved viewing box here.*

Total Eclipse Lemon and Blackberry Cupcakes

Inspiration

Whether you are planning a fun eclipse party or you just want to have a fun treat for the family, I created an eclipse inspired cupcake just for you. These tasty treats can be enjoyed for outside viewing or inside viewing online.

Blame it on living in Florida but while the rest of the US is gearing up for pumpkin spice season, I am still in the dead heat of ninety-five-degree summer. I am still in the mood for those light and refreshing summer fruit flavors. What about you? Are you still enjoying the warm rays of summer or are you ready to get your pumpkin season on?

Total Eclipse Lemon and Blackberry Cupcakes

Lemons and Blackberries

Thinking about fresh fruits and sunshine, I immediately decided to make the base of the cupcake a tart yellow lemon cake.

The lemon zest and additional lemon juice really bump up the tart citrus flavor of these cupcakes.

All in the Filling

To soothe out the tartness and also add more to our eclipse theme I thought it would be neat to fill the center with a blackberry cream cheese filling.

The idea here was to make the base of the cupcake be like the sun. I knew I would be demonstrating the eclipse with the icing but I wanted another way to turn these lemon cupcakes into distinctly Total Solar Eclipse cupcakes.

After filling the cupcake tin half full of lemon cake batter, use a piping bag to squirt just a little nickel sized dot of blackberry filling in the middle. With any luck, it will create a circular or even a crescent shape inside the cupcake. When it is cut open, you will get a nice viewable cupcake eclipse.

Total Eclipse Lemon and Blackberry Cupcakes

Over the Moon

Now, for the Total Solar Eclipse cupcakes, I wanted to alter the color of the icing so as to make it more resemble the moon passing in front of our lemon cupcake sun. But, unaltered, our icing would be a gorgeous pink color and would be very desirable when making these cupcakes for any other occasion.

This moon like effect is also why I chose to use a  Wilton 402-2001 No. 2A Round Decorating Tip, Multicolor to create a round puffed look rather than my usual swirl. I used the same tip for a similar effect on my Free the Nipple Black Forest Cupcakes.

If you find the plain moon icing a bit boring or unattractive, you can always dress it up with a little lemon zest sprinkled over or even a blackberry perched on top.

Total Eclipse Lemon and Blackberry Cupcakes

Why is this not a thing?

As excited as I am for this unique phenomenon, I am surprised I have not seen many advertisers jump at the opportunity to bank on this event.  I did see some very humorous and clever advertising by Chiquita though and their “banana sun”.

My friend Brooks, over at OurParentPlace, and I were just discussing this the other day. Why hasn’t Eclipse gum jumped on this opportunity? I mean, it is in their name!

Brooks is an awesome momma that writes about the unique intersectionality of mental health and parenting. She has first-hand experience with both and helps support other moms dealing with similar issues.  She also resides right in the middle of the band of totality! (I’m so jealous!)

Total Eclipse Lemon and Blackberry Cupcakes

Let me hear from you in the comments. Are you in the band of totality? Will you be hosting your own eclipse soiree? What do you think of these Total Solar Eclipse cupcakes and what other thematic goodies could you put with them? Let me know down below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Cofield, Calla and Tariq Malik. “Total Solar Eclipse 2017: When, Where and How to See It (Safely)”. https://www.space.com/33797-total-solar-eclipse-2017-guide.html.Space.com, 15 08 2017.
Full Eclipse Lemon and Blackberry Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Celebrating the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse, I have created for you a Full Eclipse tart lemon cupcake with a soothing blackberry cream cheese filling and sweet blackberry buttercream frosting.
Servings Prep Time
18 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
18 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Full Eclipse Lemon and Blackberry Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Celebrating the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse, I have created for you a Full Eclipse tart lemon cupcake with a soothing blackberry cream cheese filling and sweet blackberry buttercream frosting.
Servings Prep Time
18 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
18 cupcakes 10 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Ingredients
Lemon Cupcake
Blackberry Cream Cheese Filling
Blackberry Butter Cream
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Lemon Cupcake
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, and sugar together.
  2. Add eggs to the sugar mixture one at a time mixing on medium speed until well blended.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour baking soda and salt.
  4. Add a third of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture. Then add half of the Greek yogurt. Alternate between the flour mixture and Greek yogurt until all ingredients are used. Mix thoroughly on medium speed.
  5. With a spatula, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure batter is well mixed. Fold in lemon zest and lemon juice.
  6. Fill lined cupcake tin half full. Squeeze dolup of blackberry filling into the center of each cupcake. Spoon lemon batter over the blackberry filling.
  7. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on baking rack.
Blackberry Filling
  1. In a blender, blend together the creamcheese, egg and sugar.
  2. Add a cup of blackberries and mix thoroughly.
  3. Add food coloring a drop at a time to reach desired color.
  4. Spoon filling into piping bag to easily fill centers of cupcakes.
Blackberry Butter Cream
  1. In a large mixing bowl, using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer, cream the butter and shortening on medium speed for about two minutes.
  2. Add lemon juice and blackberry puree to butter mixture. Beat on medium speed until well blended.
  3. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time. Mixing thoroughly between additions.
  4. Fold in lemon extract.
  5. Wait for cupcakes to cool before frosting.
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Free the Nipple Black Forest Cupcakes

A custom “Free the Nipple” Black Forest Cupcake: A light chocolate cake filled with a juicy Morello cherry filling and topped with heavy whipped cream.

 

A Special Request

Sometimes in my adventures creating cakes for people, I come across a special request. Sometimes this request may seem silly or even vulgar but something deep inside tells me I have to make this cake.

This week is definitely one of those cakes I had to agree to make.

Free the Nipple Black Forest Cupcakes Cupcakes decorated to look like female anatomy Pink and Brown breast shaped cupcakes with nipples Fleshy boob cupcakes with a red background

Free the Nipple

Juniper Woodbury from JuniperWoodbury.com (so easy to remember!) approached me several weeks ago about an idea she had for a cupcake. She very specifically asked me for a “Free the Nipple” custom cupcake recipe for her to feature in her upcoming ebook.

Many of my readers are moms and I’m quite familiar with the “war against the breast” when it comes to breastfeeding in public. But, to be on the safe side, I inquired just to be sure I knew exactly what I was putting my name and brand on.

Free the Nipple Black Forest Cupcakes Cupcakes decorated to look like female anatomy Pink and Brown breast shaped cupcakes with nipples Fleshy boob cupcakes with a red background

Girls Aren’t Funny

Juniper Woodbury is a feminist and humor blogger, comedy writer, and self-proclaimed food enthusiast. She started Girls Aren’t Funny to address sexist problems using humor. She explained that she wanted to create a small recipe book of comedic feminist recipes including and featuring the “Free the Nipple” cupcake. The “Free the Nipple” idea is an all-encompassing one: both supporting breastfeeding and against the over sexualization of female nipples.

As a feminist and comedian (ha! well at least I think I’m funny), I had to get on board. I couldn’t wait to serve up some delicious ta-tas for a good cause.

When I am thinking about a cupcake that totally encompasses what it means to be a woman and the tastes they desire, I can’t help but think of chocolate, cherries and some sort of fruity liqueur. Why not combine them for the sweet rich taste of a Black Forest Cupcake?

This recipe comes in three parts. A recipe in three acts if you will. I know that sounds daunting but I made the last part the super easiest of all. So hang in there and I know you will love the end result.

Black Forest Cupcakes Chocolate cupcake filled with cherry pie filling and topped with whipped cream icing and a cherry. Chocolate cupcake with white icing and chocolate shavings Cherry on top

Act One: The Filling

I had a jar of dark Morello cherries that have probably been sitting in my pantry since the holidays of last year. I used them for their dark burgundy color and because that is what I had on hand. You can use maraschino cherries if you prefer or you can skip this step altogether and just buy some cherry pie filling. Where’s the fun in that?

Heat your cherries with the juice on medium low heat. Add in four tablespoons of granulated sugar and then sift two tablespoons of cornstarch into the mix. Add the Cherry Vodka and you’ll want to stir the cherries periodically. They may seem to still be wet for awhile but the cornstarch thickens the mixture into a pie filling consistency fairly quickly.

Remove the cherries from the heat once you’ve reached desired consistency and stir in your vanilla extract.

You can put the cherries to the side to cool for awhile. I put mine right back into the jar I poured them out of. It gave me more space to work and I recycled the jar.

Black Forest Cupcakes Chocolate cupcake filled with cherry pie filling and topped with whipped cream icing and a cherry. Chocolate cupcake with white icing and chocolate shavings Cherry on top

Act Two: The Cake

This cake is so fun to make. In the electric mixer, throw your six room temperature eggs and beat them on high speed for one minute. Then add in the sugar. Now, here is the fun part. Turn your mixer on high and just leave it for a while. Seriously! You want to let those eggs beat up until they are the consistency of pudding or a mousse.

I have never had a recipe where I could just walk away from the mixer before. This one you can! The eggs need to mix on high speed for about eight minutes. That doesn’t sound like long but in the cake world, it makes me super happy to have my KitchenAid Professional 5 Plus Series Stand Mixers – Empire Red to do all the work for me.

When the eggs are ready, just fold in the flour and cocoa. The idea here is to not over mix the batter. We don’t want to deflate the eggs we just spent so much time fluffing. Then fold in the butter and vanilla extract.

It is important that the butter is melted and cooled before pouring it into the batter.

If it isn’t melted, it won’t mix into the batter. If it isn’t cooled, it will want to deflate the eggs. Make sure to scrape and fold from the bottom to make sure the butter is not pooling at the bottom of the bowl.

Black Forest Cupcakes Chocolate cupcake filled with cherry pie filling

Filling the Cakes

You can use a special cupcake plunger like this one from Wilton: Wilton 2103-5354 Cupcake Corer, White. Or you can cut it out with a knife and scoop it out like I did. I am pretty sure I used this same technique for the Kahlua Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes. Why would you purchase a tool when you can just cut it out? The best answer is a time saver. I am pretty notorious for doing things the hard way just because I am stubborn.  You don’t have to be that way!

After scooping, spoon a bit of your cherry filling into each hole. Spoon as much as you can fit in the hole you’ve created. Don’t worry if it mounds on top a bit, we will cover that with frosting.

Black Forest Cupcakes Chocolate cupcake filled with cherry pie filling and topped with whipped cream icing and a cherry. Chocolate cupcake with white icing and chocolate shavings Cherry on top

Act Three: The Finale

Remember when I said I’d make this the easy part? There are two ways to make the frosting for this recipe. One is the more difficult way. I will post the ingredients for it down below. The other is the best and easiest way to make icing ever! Wilton makes a Wilton Vanilla Whipped Icing Mix and all of your Whipped Icing dreams come true. Just follow the directions on the box. Literally, the only direction is to add ice cold water to the mix and whip it until it is fluffy. How cool is that?!

Now, for a little added flavor, I did add one tablespoon of Cherry Vodka to the Wilton Whipped Icing Mix. This stuff is so great that the addition did not affect the consistency at all!

Freeing the Nipples

The “Free the Nipple” cupcakes were decorated especially for the occasion. Using fondant and Wilton gel coloring I blended the colors together to relatively believable skin tones. When working with fondant and gel colors, I always try to start with a little bit of color and build up to darker ones. It is much easier to make a color darker than it is to lighten it.

I would love to say that I recorded exactly how much of each gel color I used to create these colors, but alas I did not. I placed a toothpick into the gel color and then added it to the fondant. However, I can tell you which gel colors I used so you have a base to start from.

The brown nippled breast used a combination of the Wilton Gel Brown and the Wilton Gel Copper. The pink nippled breast used a combination of the Wilton Gel Pink and the Wilton Gel Golden Yellow.

Free the Nipple Black Forest Cupcakes Cupcakes decorated to look like female anatomy Pink and Brown breast shapped cupcakes with nipples Fleshy boob cupcakes with a red background

It looks like Wilton has thought of everything! If you do not want to mix your own colors, Wilton has the Wilton 710-2314 Decorator Preferred Natural Skin Tone Fondant already premixed into four generic skin tone shades.

Shape the fondant into your desired shape. In this case, circular breasts to cover the top of the cupcake plus a circular areola and nipple for the top. And then let them be free!

Alternate Decorating

If you are just wanting a beautiful Black Forest Cupcake without all the nip slip, I have an alternative for you. Pipe that fluffy white whipped icing into billowy clouds over top your cherry filled chocolate cupcakes. Sprinkle a few shavings of your favorite dark chocolate and plop a shiny cherry right on top!

It may be more conservative but you’ll see just as many happy faces with this traditional decoration as you do with the nipple version.

Black Forest Cupcakes Chocolate cupcake filled with cherry pie filling and topped with whipped cream icing and a cherry. Chocolate cupcake with white icing and chocolate shavings Cherry on top

Don’t Forget

Don’t forget to check out Juniper’s ebook featuring this recipe and many others. You can get ahold of your own copy here.

I would love to see your versions of the “Free the Nipple” cupcake!

If you aren’t that bold yet, then don’t hesitate to make the traditional Black Forest Cupcake version.

Let me know in the comments.

Are you a feminist? Is this exactly the type of recipe you’ve been waiting for?

Free the Nipple to make life taste sweeter!

 

 

 

Black Forest Cupcakes
Print Recipe
A light chocolate cake filled with a juicy Morello cherry filling and topped with a Cherry Vodka flavored heavy whipped cream.
Servings Prep Time
18 cupcakes 40 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
18 cupcakes 40 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Black Forest Cupcakes
Print Recipe
A light chocolate cake filled with a juicy Morello cherry filling and topped with a Cherry Vodka flavored heavy whipped cream.
Servings Prep Time
18 cupcakes 40 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
18 cupcakes 40 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Ingredients
Cherry Filling
Chocolate Cupcake
Cherry Whipped Cream Icing
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Cherry Filling
  1. In a medium sauce pan, heat cherries with juice on medium low heat.
  2. Add in granulated sugar and then sift cornstarch into the mix.
  3. Add the Cherry Vodka and you'll want to stir the cherries periodically. They may seem to still be wet for awhile but the cornstarch thickens the mixture into a pie filling consistency fairly quickly.
Chocolate Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With an electric mixer, in a large bowl beat the eggs on high for one minute.
  2. Add sugar to the eggs and beat on high for eight full minutes. Eggs will become fluffy with the consistency of pudding or mousse.
  3. Fold in flour and cocoa. Do not over mix or the batter will deflate.
  4. Fold in cooled melted butter and vanilla extract. Make sure to scoop and fold from the bottom so butter does not pool at the bottom of the bowl.
  5. Spoon into a lined cupcake tin, filling the cups 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  6. When cupcakes have cooled, core the centers and fill with Cherry Filling.
Cherry Whipped Cream Icing
  1. In an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat heavy cream and powdered sugar on high until stiff peaks form (about 8 minutes).
  2. Fold in Cherry Vodka.
  3. Pipe Icing into billowy cloud on top of cupcakes. Sprinkle dark chocolate shavings and place a cherry on top for decoration.
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Almost Legendary Apple Bacon Cupcakes

Almost Legendary Apple Bacon cupcakes are apple cupcakes chocked full of bacon and topped with a Maple Cream Cheese Icing.

Hey, guys!

As promised, I am bringing you delicious cupcake recipes straight from my kitchen. This particular recipe is one I have been perfecting for the past five years.  The first time I made Apple Bacon Cupcakes was for a potluck at my old call center job.

They looked so pretty without icing, I didn’t even bother frosting them. I will heed warning, without frosting they could easily pass as muffins and someone could mistake them for being healthy. There’s my disclaimer.

Free Baking Conversion Cheat Sheet

What makes this recipe nearly legendary?

My coworkers fell in love with these scrumptious little Apple Bacon cakes and began asking for them on a regular basis.  Since then, they have always been a favorite and people ask me for them again and again.

Every time I made them, I would tweak the recipe just a bit until I found the perfect apple to bacon ratio for maximum tastefulness. What makes these cupcakes really over the top is all the bacon.

Two Pounds of Bacon!

Not only are they garnished with a piece of crispy bacon but there is also a pound of that crumbled bacon in the cake batter itself. The salty bacon is balanced well with the light sweetness of the apple.

Today, the recipe is fairly easy and I include a frosting that pairs well with the flavor combinations. I would hate for someone to mistake them for muffins and think they were diet approved. However, the flavors are certainly ones that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or late night snack time.

How to make Apple Bacon Cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and go ahead and shred those Gala apples. This is the most time-consuming part of this process. Once the oven is preheated, place one pound of bacon on a cookie sheet. As much as I love cookies, bacon is a far better use of these pans.

Bacon, Bacon, Bacon

Of course, you could fry up your bacon the old fashion way but this way saves time and allows you to cook quite a bit at once without fear of bacon burns. You know, those burns you get when you are frying bacon with minimal clothing on and inevitably grease splatters out on tender bits of exposed skin.

If you are planning on making the icing and garnish as well, now would be the time to throw the other pound of bacon on a cookie sheet too.  Let your bacon cook until it looks like you’re desired preference of crispiness. I usually just let it crisp up while I mix up the other ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl…

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients of all purpose flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and sugar. Set this bowl to the side while we prepare the wet ingredients.

Mix together the wet ingredients of softened unsalted butter, vanilla extract, eggs and buttermilk in a separate mixing bowl. On low speed, pour your wet ingredients into your dry ones and mix until thick batter forms. Now you can add in your apples. The batter will be lumpy and that is completely okay. It is about to get a lot lumpier.

When your bacon is to your crispiness liking, pull it out and let it cool on the cookie sheets. If you are wondering what to do if you don’t like your bacon crispy, that is completely fine. It can be a bit chewy just remember it is going inside your cupcake and might make your cake chewy too.  Let the bacon cool until it is cool enough to crumble easily in your hands. If it is chewy, grab the kitchen shears and cut into small pieces. Add bacon to the batter and stir on low until well mixed.

This recipe makes approximately twenty-four cupcakes. Place paper cupcake liners in two cupcake trays and spray with cooking spray. It may sound weird to do both but the liners are so much easier to remove when sprayed a little. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from pans and let cool to prepare for icing and garnish.

How to make the Maple Cream Cheese Icing:

In a medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar while mixing until the icing forms a semi thick consistency. Mix in the maple syrup and add cinnamon. I am a fan of the cinnamon and like seeing the little specks in the icing to add dimension.

The bacon cooked earlier should be nice and cool by now. You can use either your hands or kitchen scissors to cut the strips of bacon into 1-2 inch pieces. I try to find the crispier pieces for garnish because they hold up better for presentation.

Food is 90% presentation! Click To Tweet

And like my grandmother always says, food is 90% presentation. Gently place the salty crunchy piggy pieces on top of each cake. And ta da! You have delicious beautiful cakes perfect for any time of day or night. Whether you are winning over co-workers or welcoming neighbors or just feeding the family, these Almost Legendary Apple Bacon Cupcakes are sure to satisfy.

 

Are you needing a perfect potluck contribution? Let me know what you and your coworkers think of this recipe in the comments below!

Almost Legendary Apple Bacon Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Apple cupcakes chocked full of bacon and topped with a Maple Cream Cheese Icing.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Almost Legendary Apple Bacon Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Apple cupcakes chocked full of bacon and topped with a Maple Cream Cheese Icing.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Almost Legendary Apple Bacon Cupcakes
Maple Cream Cheese Icing
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Almost Legendary Apple Bacon Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake bacon on a cookie sheet until desired crispiness. Set aside and let cool. Keep oven set at 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients of all purpose flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl stir together the wet ingredients of softened unsalted butter, vanilla extract, eggs and buttermilk.
  4. On low speed, pour your wet ingredients into your dry ones and mix until a thick batter forms and all ingredients are well mixed.
  5. Crumble cooled bacon and fold bacon and apples into mix. Mix on low speed until well blended.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. A toothpick inserted will come out clean. Cool on baking rack.
Maple Cream Cheese Icing
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Cook bacon to desired crispiness. Set aside and let cool.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  3. Slowly add powdered sugar while mixing until the icing forms a semi thick consistency.
  4. Add the maple syrup and add cinnamon. Mix until well blended.
  5. Ice cupcakes and garnish with bacon. Bacon can be crumbled over top or can be broken into 1-2 inch pieces and placed on top.
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Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting

 

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Icing

Hey Guys!

Man, it has been a fun filled week. I have successfully completed almost all of the Christmas shopping. There are just a few things left to check off that list but for the most part done. We added two new furry members to the family this week. They are the sweetest little eight week old kittens who have diligently been helping me gift wrap presents. By help of course I mean chase string and chomp on bits of paper.

IMG_20151210_135110436~2

Gingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_Frosting

As we all get into the holiday spirit, Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex built his own Gingerbread house made of foam. Why not a real Gingerbread house? Well, one, I have always felt funny about eating candy off of real Gingerbread houses. Something about Hansel and Gretel and eating stale candy….but I digress.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Icing

But reason two is that we were filling the house with the smell of delicious Gingerbread cupcakes instead. These taste way better than any prefabricated Gingerbread house kit or stale candy you can pick up at the store.

Gingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_Frosting Gingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_Frosting

Full disclosure, this was the first Gingerbread anything I’ve ever made from scratch. I knew that Gingerbread required molasses but I had never directly worked with it before. In my mind, I imagined molasses being a lot like Karo syrup. Molasses is NOT like Karo syrup. It does not smell good and doesn’t really taste good raw either. Yes, of course, I had to try it. Just like that time when I was about seven or so and decided that vanilla extract smelled good enough to eat. No no no. But thankfully, molasses mixed with other delicious things, much like vanilla extract, ends up tasting amazing in the end.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Icing

 

These Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting are super easy and super cute for all of your holiday gatherings and treats. Much like so many of my recipes, you separate your dry ingredients and your wet ones and then you mix them in together. The consistency and color of the batter will look like the smoothest peanut butter you’ve ever seen.

Gingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_Frosting Gingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_FrostingGingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_Frosting

When the cakes come out they are so  fluffy and much more enjoyable than the rock hard cookies in the kits. Can you tell I have some hate for the Gingerbread house kits? It is probably repressed anger from never being able to get my royal icing packet to the right consistency to dry before my house fell over. I’m a baker. I bake. I am not an architect nor a construction master. I’ll leave the house building to the other guys. We’ll stick with cupcakes.

Gingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_FrostingThe frosting is just as easy as the caking. At first, I felt like that was a TON of sugar for a cream cheese icing but then I realized why. Ginger and molasses both have really strong flavors. You end up needing the extra sugar to balance out those flavors. It works out I promise. It works out so well that I was practically eating the frosting by the spoonful. Really, this stuff would taste good on sooo many things.

Gingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_Frosting Gingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_FrostingGingerbread_Cupcakes_with_Gingerbread_Cream_Cheese_Frosting

The final touch is adding these adorable little Gingerbread men to the top. I LOVE almost any food I can bite the head off of. Ok, that may sound weird. I don’t mean like meat and animals and such. I mean I love biting the heads off of Peeps, and Teddy Grahams and gummy bears. So, if you have an obsession like I do of edible decapitation, then you’ll love these decorative Gingerbread men decorations. Wilton has a great line of Christmas Icing Decorations that include Christmas trees and snowflakes and these lovely Gingerbread men. I also noticed they have some dressed in ugly Christmas sweaters or my favorite, the ones I used, which are holding little gum drops. Too cute!

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Icing

 

So while you are decking the halls and inevitably making spirits bright, make sure to make life taste sweeter with these scrumptious Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting!

 

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting
Print Recipe
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting
Print Recipe
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting.
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Gingerbread Cupcakes
Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Gingerbread Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together dry ingredients of flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
  2. In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar on medium high speed. Add in eggs and mix well. Then add in molasses, again mixing well.
  3. Add a third of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix completely. Add about half of the water to the wet ingredients. Continue to alternate between flour mixture and the water, ending with adding the last third of the flour mixture. Mix until well blended.
  4. Fill 24 lined cupcake tins 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. A toothpick will come out clean when done.
Gingerbread Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. In a large mixing bowl, with whisk attachment, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Texture should be smooth and creamy.
  2. Mix in salt, ginger, and molasses until well blended.
  3. Add in powdered sugar a cup or so at a time. The frosting will thicken and really take shape.
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Pretty In Pink Strawberry Cupcakes

Happy Fall Y’all!

I totally just stole that from Jujube and her nifty diy-ed yard sign. But how fitting, right? October is closing and we are right smack dab in the middle of pumpkin season. Being in Florida for my first Autumn, I am seriously missing my North Carolina  colorful wonder from the changing of the leaves. It is hard for me to really embrace Fall without those majestic leaves dancing across city streets.

Instead, I get Palm trees. Palm trees in the summer, Palm trees in Autumn and I’m pretty sure they’ll still be here for Winter. So as we move into the season together, there will definitely be more season inspired cupcakes to come along. It is Friday folks and you know what that means. As promised in Halloween Spooktacular Disaster, I’m here to deliver you another scrumptious recipe from my kitchen to yours.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, as I’m sure you’ve noticed across social media with all things pink. Sticking with the theme of the month, these Pretty In Pink Strawberry Cupcakes will be a tasty addition. I know it is the end of October but that doesn’t change their sweet taste nor the importance of the cause. Please make sure you are getting that mammogram done or encouraging your significant others to do so. They really are one of the best ways for early detection.

Pretty _In_Pink_Strawberry_Cupcakes

Now that the important stuff is out of the way, let’s get down to the fun stuff. The recipe is similar to generic strawberry cupcake recipes but with a few additions they quickly turn into the embodiment of female empowerment. By the way, they aren’t for women because they are pink. They just happen to be pink and can really be for anyone. I have to add a dash of my Feminism in there. However, after I made this batch, it was brought to my attention that the strawberry on top slightly (or more than slightly) resembles a piece of female anatomy. Don’t let that stop you from adding them though because I really feel the fresh strawberry adds to the sweet and strawberry tartness of this cake.

Before the oven
Before the oven
After the oven
After the oven

Pretty In Pink Strawberry Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Pretty In Pink Strawberry Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 20 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Ingredients
Pretty In Pink Strawberry Cupcakes
Simple Cream Cheese Frosting
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
Pretty In Pink Strawberry Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl whisk together dry ingredients of flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl combine wet ingredients of butter, frozen strawberries, eggs and almond milk.
  3. Mixing on medium slow speed, gradually add dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Batter should be thick and wet. Add drops of food coloring to make batter the desired pink shade.
  4. Line cupcake tins with liners and spray with cooking spray for easy cupcake removal from wrappers. Fill each cup 3/4 of the way full.
  5. Add half a strawberry (inside facing up) to the top of each cake. Bake for 15-20. Toothpick should come out clean when done.
Simple Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. whip on high the cream cheese and evaporated milk until fluffy.
  2. Gradually add in powdered sugar about a cup at a time. Icing should thicken.
  3. Mix in salt and vanilla until well blended. If runny, add more powdered sugar as needed.
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Reminiscent of Strawberry shortcake because in Fall we often long for those primarily Summer treats, I used Cream Cheese frosting but even whipped cream would work great. It is super easy and super delicious.

 

You can always dress these up with a fresh strawberry on top and really bump up that presentation. I hope you enjoy these as much as my family did. Strawberry is always such a classic flavor that so many enjoy.

Tomorrow, while you are out celebrating or not celebrating, remember to be safe and have fun. I am sure there will be plenty of Elsas and Jedis out there getting their Trick or Treating on. What is my Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex going as? Well, a Daryl-esque zombie hunter/survivor of course. That means Captain and I get the fun task of being awesomely disgusting zombies for the hunting.

 

Let me know how your batch comes out and I would love to hear what fun costumes your little goblins are going as this year. Trick or Treating is a great way to make life taste sweeter (or maybe it is just that big bag of candy ;)).

 

Caramel Cinnamon Apple Pie Cupcakes

Hey guys!

It is fall and most importantly October. As much as I wanted to share all sorts of Halloween inspired cupcake ideas with you the Cupcakeasaurus household just wasn’t having it. So, I thought maybe we could still stay in at least the autumn theme of things by having a caramel apple inspired cupcake.

 

There are several of these recipes floating around the internet and I figured I would try one out and see how it goes. Well folks, I’m sad to say that the recipe I found didn’t exactly make me think of caramel apples at first bite. No worries though, because the result was still delicious and still falls in line with the apples of autumn. I just can’t in good conscience name and label it Caramel Apple Cupcakes (even if there are both caramel and apples in the mix) knowing full well you’d expect it to taste like the sticky mess of apples you almost break your teeth on at the fair. Instead of inciting disappointment with mislabeling, I’ll just call this Caramel Cinnamon Apple Pie Cupcakes.

Caramel_Cinnamon_Apple_Pie_Cupcakes

      So the words “caramel” and “apple” are still in the name but I think this new name definitely better portrays the true flavors. Since cinnamon is such a distinct flavor I think it is essential to include in the name to let folks know what they are getting into before their first bite.

     Remember our Apple Bacon Cupcakes and how they could easily be mistaken for a muffin if not iced appropriately? Well, the same could easily be said for these too. At first glance you’d think these are Cinnamon Apple muffins. Don’t let their breakfasty look fool you though; these are full on delicious dessert cupcakes. Without that sticky caramel layer topped with a fluffy cinnamon butter cream, someone could very easily fall into the muffin trap. The whole house smells of apples and cinnamon. Who needs candles when you are a baker? Who needs perfume either for that matter? While lying in bed Captain Cupcakeasaurus leaned in to kiss my forehead and couldn’t help but notice that my hair smelled of baked goods. Of all the things a woman (or dinosaur for that matter) could smell like, I’m pretty sure tasty deliciousness is among one of the best.

Caramel_Cinnamon_Apple_Pie_Cupcakes

      I have to let you know up front this is another one of those recipes that has a few more steps than the average Joe recipe. It doesn’t require anything too fancy or complicated but it is more than just mix the ingredients together and pop in an oven.

       First things first though. The first majorly important step is to make the base cupcake. Well, there isn’t much we can do without that, is there? 

Caramel Cinnamon Apple Pie Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Cinnamon Apple Pie Cupcake filled with cinnamon apple compote, dripping with sweet caramel sauce and topped with Fluffy Cinnamon Butter Cream Icing
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 40 minutes
Cook Time
18-20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 40 minutes
Cook Time
18-20 minutes
Caramel Cinnamon Apple Pie Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Cinnamon Apple Pie Cupcake filled with cinnamon apple compote, dripping with sweet caramel sauce and topped with Fluffy Cinnamon Butter Cream Icing
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 40 minutes
Cook Time
18-20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24 cupcakes 40 minutes
Cook Time
18-20 minutes
Ingredients
Cinnamon Apple Pie Cupcake base
Cinnamon Apple Compote
Caramel Topping
Fluffy Cinnamon Butter Cream Icing
Servings: cupcakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, brown sugar and granulated sugar).
  2. If using a stand mixer, keep on low setting while adding in ingredients. If not, add each ingredient and then mix thoroughly before adding the next. Mix in butter, eggs, milk, and vanilla until batter is well mixed.
  3. Add in the chopped apples last. The batter will be slightly runny and lumpy.
  4. Line 24 cupcake tins with liners of choice. Quick spray with cooking spray to make removal of liners easier. Fill cups 3/4 of the way and bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cinnamon Apple Compote
  1. Chop apples very small. Place apples and all other ingredients into sauce pan and cook over medium heat. Apples will become tender and the sugar will become like syrup.
Caramel Topping
  1. Combine full bag of caramels with 2 Tablespoons of milk in a sauce pan. Cook on medium heat stirring constantly until caramels are thoroughly melted.
Fluffy Cinnamon Butter Cream Icing
  1. Butter will need to be extra soft so let warm on counter top before starting. Place butter in mixing bowl and whisk on medium until fluffy. Add in sugar, flour, vanilla and cinnamon. Whip on medium until smooth. The icing will appear to be light and fluffy.
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Next comes the extra steps. One of the extra steps is to create this delicious apple compote. That sounds fancy, right? Well, the apple compote is pretty much apple pie filling and adds to the apple-y goodness of these little cakes. This is also the step that really makes your house smell like it was baked in Martha Stewart’s oven. Apple compote just makes you sound like you are a professional pastry chef, never mind the homework clutter on the table or the sink full  of dishes beside your work station. Maybe that’s just my work station. And by work station, I mean this little corner of counter space I’ve managed to clear off for myself and put down a cutting board.

Caramel_Cinnamon_Apple_Cupcakes

Once your cupcakes are nice and cool, using a melon baller, or eyeball scooper (see I can still be Halloweeny), or a knife like I did, scoop out a hole in the middle of the cupcakes. Similar to the Kahlua Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes, make sure not to dig too deep. Apple pie filling on the floor isn’t going to be good for anyone.

received_895884287159258Caramel_Cinnamon_Apple_Pie_Cupcakes

Once holes are scooped, just spoon the compote into the holes. No special tools are required. I simply used a regular dining spoon for this part. Even though there are extra steps, it doesn’t mean they all have to be hard.

Caramel_Cinnamon_Apple_Pie_Cupcakes

Alright, so now we have all our cinnamon and apples. Where does the caramel come in? Well, that is another one of those extra steps but it too isn’t that difficult and completely worth the time and effort.

 

Just melt your caramels with a little bit of milk to get them all melted and smooth. The package says to use water for caramel apples but I felt the milk better suited our needs. Stir constantly because this stuff is super sticky and we definitely don’t want it to burn. And similar to the Apple Compote, just spoon the caramel over the top of each cupcake. I try to aim and cover the Compote holes first and then work my way out to the edge. Warning: the caramel may run off the sides and down the side of your cupcake. Make sure to have the cupcakes on an easy to clean surface just in case you have some caramel spillage.

 

The final step that really puts the finishing touch on these is the rich buttery Fluffy Cinnamon Butter Cream Icing. It is essential for the butter to be soft because it really allows it to be whipped into shape. This icing is so creamy that I didn’t even use a decorator tip to ice the tops. I just snipped the end off of a disposable pastry bag and swirled it on top of the Caramel Topping. I personally prefer to do a smaller amount of icing on the top so the Caramel Topping is still visible.

Caramel_Cinnamon_Apple_Pie_Cupcakes

These cupcakes may not have been what I was aiming for as far as being a caramel apple on a stick but they certainly delivered on flavor. Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex had one for snack today and even he approves of this delicious Caramel Cinnamon Apple Pie Cupcake treat.

Caramel_Cinnamon_Apple_Cupcakes