Back to the Kitchen: Have Cupcake Wars At Home

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When my daughter had her first birthday I made a cascading cupcake table instead of a cake. I simply used chocolate and vanilla cupcakes surrounded by a scattering of kisses, cracker jacks and animal crackers. The kids thought it was magical, but the adults went crazy over the cupcakes.

Now that my daughter is 16, she and her friends have a new interest in cupcakes. In fact,  we have a “Cupcake Wars” party challenge out to our friends,  the Lorenz and Duthie families!

As a caterer one of my signature cocktail parties are lots of little bites. Having a dessert table with cupcakes and even mini cupcakes is a perfect way to end an evening. Some have a bit more steps than opening a box mix, but all are not complicated and so worth it.  I suggest mixing  and matching  to let everyone have his or her favorite. Using a star tip, pipe the icing decoratively on top of each cupcake. (You can use a pastry bag or a plastic zip lock.  Just fill, make a cut on the corner and squeeze.  Then garnish with zest, fresh fruit, nuts or chocolate shavings. Have fun and bring back some childhood fun in a whole new way. Let the cupcake wars begin!

Note: One muffin pan makes 12 cupcakes.

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 3/4 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1-teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1-teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoons salt

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1-cup vegetable oil

1 cup pineapple, finely chopped

3 cups carrots — grated

1/2-cup pecans finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line 2 muffin pans with cupcake liners. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs at medium speed until blended. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar. Add the vegetable oil and mix until combined and smooth. On low speed mix in one-third of the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides as necessary. Continue to add the flour mixture in thirds until just smooth. Fold in the grated carrots, pecans and pineapple Fill the muffin cups about two-thirds full and bake 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 15 to 20 minutes and remove from muffin tins.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2-cup butter

8oz cream cheese

2 teaspoons vanilla

1-pound powder sugar

Beat the ingredients until smooth. Pipe onto cupcakes.

Lemon Curd Cupcakes

Lemon Curd

1 cup strained, fresh-squeezed lemon juice

3 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

1cup sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small chunks

Zest 0f 2 lemons

Whisk together the lemon juice, sugar, and eggs in a heatproof bowl. Add butter. Cook over a pan of simmering water until the curd is thick and the whisk leaves a trail. Even though the curd will set further when its chilled, you want it to be thick initially so that it can be piped easily. Don’t worry if the butter clots, keep whisking for about 15 minutes.
Strain the curd into a fresh bowl. Stir in the lemon zest. Chill over night.


2 cups cake flour

2 1/2 baking powder

3/4-teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter

2 cups sugar

1 large egg

1-teaspoon vanilla extract

Zest of two lemons

2 1/2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350. Line two muffin tins with paper liners. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Cream butter and sugar together until well blended. Beat in egg, vanilla and lemon zest in three additions; add the milk and flour mixtures alternating between the two. Divide the batter between the tins, filling each hole just over half-full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until risen, springy and slightly golden. Cool 10 minutes in tins; transfer to wire rack and cool completely.


2 sticks unsalted butter

About 5 cups powder sugar

Juice of one lemon

Beat the butter. Add the powder sugar one cup at a time stop when you have a nice butter cream consistency. Add lemon juice about a tablespoon at a time until it is tart enough for you. If it is too thick for piping add a few drops of milk to thin it down.

And Finally-

Using a melon-baller or a paring knife hollow out a hole in the center of each cupcake. Don’t go right to the bottom. The hole needs to be able to take about 2 tablespoons lemon curd. Pipe the lemon curd into the hollows you’ve made. Don’t over-fill. Level it with the cupcake. Pipe on the butter cream frosting starting on an outside edge and swirling upwards in an inward circle. Sprinkle with lemon zest.

 Margarita Cupcakes

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

Zest and juice of 1½ limes

4 tablespoons tequila

1-teaspoon vanillas extract

1-cup buttermilk

Brush the cupcakes:

1 to 2 tablespoons tequila

For the Tequila-Lime Frosting:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2¾ cups powdered sugar

1-tablespoon limejuice

2 tablespoons tequila

Pinch of coarse salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Line two standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the lime zest, limejuice, vanilla extract and tequila. Mix until combined. (The mixture may start to look curdled at this point, but don’t worry, it will all come back together, power on!) Reduce the mixer speed low. Add the dry ingredients. Mix only until just incorporated, using a rubber spatula to give it one last mix by hand. Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until just slightly golden and a skewer shows only moist crumbs attached, rotating the pan at the halfway point.

Allow cupcakes to cool and then remove to a cooling rack. Brush the tops of the cupcakes with the 1 to 2 tablespoons of tequila. Set the cupcakes aside to cool completely before frosting them.

To make the frosting, whip the butter on medium-high speed of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment for 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low, and gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing and scraping the sides of the bowl until all is incorporated. Give it a mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add the limejuice, tequila and salt mix on medium-high speed until incorporated and fluffy. Frost cupcakes and garnish, with lime zest, an additional sprinkling of salt and a lime wedge.

Cappuccino Cupcakes With Whipped Cream

2 cups flour

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 stick unsalted butter

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1/4 cup instant espresso powder

1/2 cup water — warmed

2 teaspoons vanilla

Lightly Sweetened Whipped Cream

Heat oven to 350 F. Line two muffin tins with paper liners Dissolve espresso powder in warm water and set aside. Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Stir together oil, eggs, dissolved espresso and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in the flour mixture just until blended. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups, filling each cup a little over halfway full. Bake in 350 F. oven 17 to 20 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool cupcakes in pan for 3 minutes. Turn out onto wire rack to cool completely Just before serving, frost each cupcake with a tablespoonful of whipped cream and dust with coco powder.

Cheesecake Cupcakes

Crust -

12 crushed double graham crackers.

1 stick of butter, melted

2 tablespoons sugar (Save out a few crumbs to sprinkle on top)

In a small bowl mix together. Preheat oven to 350°F
Line two 12-cup muffin pas with foil baking cups. Line each cup with crust and bake for about 10 minutes until golden. Let cool 15 minutes.


1 lb. cream cheese, softened

2 large eggs

1-tablespoon vanilla

1/2 cup granulated sugar

Mix above ingredients together and beat well with an electric mixer. Put cheese mixture over cooled crusts filling a little over half way and bake 15 minutes at 350. Cool one hour.


Mix 1-pint sour cream with 3 tablespoons sugar one-tablespoon vanilla. Place a small layer on top of cooled cupcakes.
Sprinkle crumbs on top. Bake at 350 for 5 min. When cool- chill in refrigerator.

Chocolate Soufflé Cupcakes

16 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1-cup sugar

4 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

1 cup flour

Lightly sweetened whipped cream

Line two  12-cup muffin pan with muffin papers. Combine chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Cook over a pan of simmering water until smooth and melted. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, eggs and egg yolks in large bowl until thick ribbon falls when beaters are lifted, about 5 minutes. Sift flour over; using rubber spatula, gently fold in flour. Fold in chocolate mixture. Divide batter among muffin papers. Cover and chill until cold and firm, at least 25 minutes, Preheat oven to 375 and bake about 10 minutes until cupcakes are puffed and cracked and tester inserted into center comes out with moist batter attached. Serve cupcakes immediately with whipped cream and shaved chocolate.


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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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