Boston Creme Cupcakes

Boston Crème Cupcakes.  Deliciously moist yellow cupcakes with a vanilla custard center and topped with chocolate ganache.  Hello, heaven.  My young daughter kept coming into the kitchen while I was making these and asking, “Mommy, can I have a cupcake?” and I’d always reply, “Not yet sweet pea, they’re not finished.”  She would then turn around and walk out, only to come back in, asking the same question every five minutes.  Although, I’ll have to say she had perfect timing when I was using a cupcake corer to remove the center of the cupcakes to prepare them for adding the filling…because there were cupcake scraps from removing the centers.  She must have eaten five little scraps, gobbling them down and saying, “Yummy in the tummy, Mommy!”  She’s definitely right about that one, these were very yummy in the tummy.

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I took a bite out of the cupcake for the picture above…and enjoyed every second of it.  In fact, I couldn’t wait to get the pictures done in order to finish off the rest of it.  It couldn’t be left sitting there like that, half eaten…right?!  Hard to believe this was my first try making chocolate ganache, and I’ll definitely be making that again to put on top of other desserts.  These cupcakes were simple and amazing.  Simply amazing.  There you go, that’s the perfect description.

For the Cupcakes:

1 box Duncan Hines yellow cake mix

1 (3.4 oz.) box instant vanilla pudding

1 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup water

4 eggs

8 oz. sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in medium size mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer at medium speed for 2-4 minutes.  Using an ice cream scoop, distribute batter into lined muffin pan.  Bake for 22-24 minutes, until a light golden brown on top.  Cool completely on cooling racks.  Use cupcake corer and remove center of cupcakes.  Slice a small portion off top of removed core, place on top of filling, top with ganache.  Store cupcakes in refrigerator.

For the Filling:

2 1/2 cups whole milk

2 (3.4 oz.) box instant vanilla pudding mix

2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine milk, instant pudding mix, and vanilla extract in a large bowl.  Beat mixture with a hand mixer for 2 minutes, or until it thickens.  Place mixture in refrigerator for 15 minutes.  Spoon filling into a pastry bag fitted with a medium-size plain tip.  Fill cupcakes with vanilla pudding filling by inserting tip into top of cupcake and squeezing a couple of tablespoons of filling into each cupcake.

For the Chocolate Ganache:

1 cup heavy cream

1 bag semisweet chocolate chips

Heat cream in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat until bubbles appear around the edges.  Remove from heat, add chocolate morsels to pan, and whisk until smooth.  Spoon or drizzle glaze over cupcakes.  Refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour, before serving.

Chocolate Rainbow M&M Cupcakes

When it comes to M&M candies in our house, my husband is a vulture.  In the process of making these cupcakes, I had to run out for a little while.  As I’m looking at all of the sorted colored candies on the counter, the thought crossed my mind of giving my husband a head’s up.  So, I sent him a text message saying, “If you get home before I do, please don’t eat the M&M’s on the counter until I’m finished with the cupcakes.”  I smiled and shook my head, thinking of how many times I’ve had to yell at my dad for eating something he wasn’t supposed to, then learning from the situation and having to start hiding things.  It’s different with my husband, though.  He listens, because he always knows that I will save some for him…which is exactly what I did when he got home, make him his own special little M&M cupcake.  He loved it.

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One of the many wonderful things about these cupcakes is the fact that they’re so simple to make and decorate.  It would be a really fun project for them to stick all of the candies on top of the cupcakes!  First, make the batch of cupcakes.  After they have cooled completely, spread  a layer of chocolate icing on top.  As you can see here, I have already sorted out the different colored candies.

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Instead of yellow being the middle color of all the cupcakes, I rotated the colors through for more of a variety.  I’m big on numbers, so once I figured out how many candies of each color fit into a row, it was a piece of cupcake.  😉  Five candies in the middle row, four  on either side of the middle row, and three on the two outer rows.  I made sure to press the M side down into the cupcake, so all you see are the colors.

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Here is the finished product!  Look at all of those beautiful colors.  Even though the rows of colors were switched with the cupcakes, the pattern is still the same.  Yes, I am that anal.  😀

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Another wonderful thing is being able to switch up the colors and patterns.  M&M’s have seasonal items, so you can use colors accordingly with Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas, etc.  If you want to make some with school colors, you can do that as well!  So many options.  So much chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes:

1 box Duncan Hines dark chocolate fudge cake mix

1 small box instant chocolate pudding mix

1 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup water

4 eggs

8 oz. sour cream

Combine all ingredients in medium bowl and beat with electric mixer for 2-4 minutes at medium speed.  Using standard ice cream scoop, spoon into lined cupcake pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 22-24 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool completely on cooling racks.

*I just used a can of Duncan Hines classic chocolate icing.  Quick, easy, and delicious.

Eggnog Cupcakes

When it comes to eggnog, usually the first image that pops into my head is a scene from the movie “Christmas Vacation.”  Uncle Eddie takes the little moose head glass and gets himself a refill of the eggnog in the living room and slurps loudly, while he’s babbling away to a very uninterested Clark Griswold.  That’s definitely one of my favorite Christmas movies.  Tis the season to laugh yourself silly.

IMG_3545Although it’s literally been YEARS since I’ve had eggnog, the taste is so familiar that it’s hard to forget.  When I went to the store to get the ingredients for this, I picked up the Southern Comfort brand of non-alcoholic eggnog.  I’m no fun…I know.  BUT, the good thing is that you can always add liquor later.  Yes.  Anyway, while I was combining all of the ingredients, I poured myself a small glass, just for old time’s sake.  I kept smelling it, and realized that it really doesn’t have a scent…but oh, the taste was still there.  Yummy.

Eggnog Cupcakes Recipe:

1 box Duncan Hines white cake mix

1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix

8 oz. sour cream

4 eggs

1/2 cup oil

1 cup eggnog

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons rum

Combine all ingredients in bowl and beat at medium speed with electric mixer for 2-4 minutes.  Using ice cream scoop, evenly distribute batter into lined cupcake pan, bake at 350 degrees for 22-24 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned.  Cool completely on cooling rack, top with icing.

Eggnog Icing Recipe:

1 stick butter, softened

1 cup shortening

2 lbs. powdered sugar

1/4 cup eggnog

1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine butter and shortening, beat with electric mixer at medium speed for 3-4 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients, continue beating for 5 minutes.  Spoon icing into cake decorating bag, and using tip number 21 or 22, pipe on top of cupcakes.  Sprinkle with cinnamon for garnish.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing and Chocolate Pumpkin Topper

Click here to watch the video how to make these cupcakes!

I’ll be honest…I’m not a big fan of pumpkin.  But, these are absolutely delicious!  The combination of yellow cake mix, cinnamon and pumpkin compliment each other so well.  I normally make these in a mini muffin pan, and one batch makes about 90.  Yes, I said 90.  With the cupcakes, one batch made a little over 3 dozen.  These are great for any time of the year, but especially in the fall around Halloween and Thanksgiving!

Recipe:

1 box Duncan Hines yellow cake mix

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 large can of pumpkin pie filling (the BIG can!) 30 oz.

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Combine all ingredients and beat with electric mixer for 3-4 minutes on medium speed.  Spoon 2/3 full into muffin pan and bake at 350 degrees for 32-34 minutes.  Cool and cover with cream cheese icing.  Oh, and a chocolate pumpkin for added effect.  ;)

Cream Cheese Icing Recipe: (does not need to be stored in refrigerator)

2 lbs. powdered sugar

1 stick butter, softened

1 cup shortening

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 can cream cheese icing

Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix at medium speed for 5-7 minutes.  Pipe on top of cooled cupcakes.

Cookie Monster Cupcakes

Mmmmmm…Cooookies!!!!  Just reading that phrase puts the Cookie Monster’s voice in my head.  Love it.  I saw the picture for these super cute cupcakes about six months ago, and knew exactly when to make them…for my 41 year old brother’s birthday.

You may wonder why I would make them for an old guy like him, and I’ll be happy to explain.  He absolutely LOVED Sesame Street growing up.  He also LOVED to put a big blanket over his head and chase me around the house with a monster voice.  He’s also like a big kid, and the thought of making these for his birthday was just perfect.

I had to improvise on making his eyes though.  I didn’t have any M&M’s and didn’t have time to run to the store, so I just melted some dark chocolate and dabbed the pupils on there.  Next time, I’ll definitely be sure to get the M&M’s.  These cupcakes not only have a chocolate chip cookie stuffed inside the Cookie Monster’s mouth, but they also have mini chocolate chips inside them as well.  Oh, and white chocolate wafers as the eyes?  Holy sugar overload.  The whole family came over for dinner to celebrate my brother’s birthday, so I had to make sure there was plenty of food.  Dinner consisted of pork tenderloin, scalloped potatoes, rice, corn, and green beans…and of course, the cupcakes.  My daughter, nieces and nephews must have asked me ten times if they could have a cupcake before dinner.

Then, the glorious time came…cupcake time!  My sister-in-law actually broke the seal, because I kept telling the kids that we couldn’t have cupcakes until everyone was done with dinner.  Next thing I know, she walks in the kitchen, picks one up and starts munching away.  Then I hear my nephew yell, “Hey!!!  She’s eating a cupcake!”  Okay okay…go ahead.  It was like a swarm of bees, all covered in blue icing afterwards.

Cookie Monster Cupcakes:

1 box Duncan Hines yellow cake mix

1 small box instant vanilla pudding

1 cup oil

1/2 cup water

4 eggs

8 oz. sour cream

1 cup mini chocolate chips

1 package Chips Ahoy cookies

white chocolate wafers

brown M&M’s

Combine first six ingredients and beat with electric mixer at medium speed for 2-4 minutes.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Fill lined cupcake pan 2/3 full with batter, bake at 350 degrees for 23-24 minutes.  Remove from pan, cool completely.  Using a knife, make a horizontal cut across the top half of the cupcake.  Cut cookies in half, place one half of cookie inside slit.  Using a small star tip, pipe blue icing on cupcake.  Place two white chocolate wafers on top of cupcakes.  Attach brown M&M’s with a small dab of icing.

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cupcakes

As I was scrolling through Reese’s Facebook page, it hit me…  I hadn’t made some cupcakes with those delicious little peanut butter chips in them.  So, that quickly made the top of my to-do list, especially since I was going to a cookout where there would be some cupcake fans there.  Oh yeah, and they also like peanut butter.  Then again, who doesn’t?

My two year old daughter went with me to the grocery store, and I asked her if she wanted to help me make some cupcakes.  She got all excited and said, “Yes!”  Even though she’s technically too young to help with the process, she loves to help me with the shopping list and watch the electric mixer do its thing.  Oh, and the most important part…testing out the cupcakes.  We loaded up all of the necessary ingredients to make these fabulous little cupcakes, and headed home to get started.

Anytime the standing mixer starts going, she comes running into the kitchen, and wants me to pick her up so she can see exactly what’s going on.  As we stood there by the mixer watching it mix away, the aroma of peanut butter was intoxicating.  We kept sniffing close to the mixer in order to get the full effect.  I seriously considered adding some cocoa to the icing recipe itself, but decided against it and made a chocolate peanut butter glaze to go on top, along with the mini peanut butter cup.  The batch makes 3 dozen cupcakes, and I ended up taking 2 dozen to the cookout.  I kept telling people to make sure to get a cupcake (I didn’t want to take any home with me).  Well, once the first one was eaten…it was like a domino effect.  Other people would see a cupcake, then remember they’re in there and go in to get one.  Next thing I knew, the same people are going back in for seconds…and even thirds.  By the time I went home, there were only two cupcakes left.  Success!  This is definitely one of those recipes that I’ll continue to make again and again…

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cupcakes Recipe:

1 box Duncan Hines dark chocolate cake mix

1 box instant chocolate pudding mix

1 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup water

4 eggs

8 oz. sour cream

1 bag Reese’s peanut butter chips

Combine first six ingredients in bowl and beat at medium speed with electric mixer for 2-4 minutes.  Stir in peanut butter chips with spoon or spatula.  Using a standard size ice cream scoop, distribute batter evenly among lined cupcake pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 24 minutes.  Cool completely before icing.  *I used a cake decorating bag and tip 1M for these cupcakes.

Peanut Butter Icing Recipe:

2 lbs. confectioners sugar

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup Reese’s creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup water

2 teaspoons vanilla

Beat butter, shortening and peanut butter using electric mixer at medium speed for 2-4 minutes, until smooth.  Add remaining ingredients and beat at medium speed for 5-7 minutes, until smooth and blended.  Pipe on top of cupcakes, then top with glaze and mini Reese’s peanut butter cup.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Glaze Recipe:

1/2 cup peanut butter icing

1 tablespoon cocoa

2-4 tablespoons chocolate syrup

In small bowl, combine all ingredients and stir together until desired consistency (should be thinner than icing, but thicker than plain syrup).  Using a cake decorating bag and tip number 3, drizzle glaze on top.  Top with mini Reese’s peanut butter cup.

Like this?  Try these!

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Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes

I love the sound of this name…caramel macchiato.  Sounds elegant and delicious.  I’ve heard people mention this in a way that just makes it sound yummy…maybe it’s just the tone in their voices because they love it so much.  Either way, I had to try it…and was quite impressed myself.

When it comes to making cupcakes (and many other baked goods for that matter), you have several options.  You can make the entire recipe from scratch, you can follow the box recipe, or you can use modified box recipes.  The healthiest choice would be to make it from scratch.  You know exactly all of the ingredients going into the cupcakes, so you’re not left in the dark with any artificial flavorings, chemicals, or additives that you may not know are in there.  With the box recipe, it’s so simple and all you need is a handful of ingredients.  Now, on to the modified box recipe…  It’s a few more ingredients than the standard box recipe, but is so incredibly worth it.  I made this batch two ways…from scratch and the modifed box version.  Both were delicious.  The from scratch recipe made just under two dozen, and the modified box recipe made three dozen.  Either way, it’s a lot of cupcakes.  Just make sure you have several people that are willing to try them out for you, but you could also wrap some up and stick them in the freezer, save them for another time.  Several options.  I like options.  Oh, and I also like these cupcakes…a lot.

Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes Recipe:

2 1/3 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

2 tsp vanilla

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup milk, warm

3 tsp instant coffee

2 tbsp vegetable oil

Combine all dry ingredients in bowl and stir together.  Put milk in microwave for 30 seconds, then stir in coffee granules until dissolved.  Add remaining ingredients and beat with electric mixer on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.  Distribute evenly among cupcake liners in muffin pan, bake at 350 degrees for 22-23 minutes.  Cool completely before icing.

“Doctored” Box Recipe:

1 box Duncan Hines Caramel Cake Mix

1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup milk

4 teaspoons instant coffee granules

4 eggs

8 oz. sour cream

Put milk in microwave for 30 seconds, then stir in coffee granules until completely dissolved.  Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl and beat well at medium speed for 2-3 minutes.  Distribute evenly among cupcake liners in muffin pan, bake at 350 degrees for 22-23 minutes.  Cool completely before icing.

Caramel Macchiato Icing Recipe:

2 lbs. confectioners sugar

2 sticks butter, softened

1/2 cup milk, warm

3 teaspoons instant coffee granules

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Put milk in microwave for 30 seconds, stir in coffee granules until completely dissolved.  Combine all ingredients in bowl, beat at medium speed with electric mixer for 5-7 minutes.  Put icing in cake decorating bag (using tip of your choice) and pipe on top of cupcakes.  Drizzle with caramel sauce, if desired.

Like this?  Try these!

White Chocolate Caramel Latte Cupcakes

Mocha Cake

Caramel Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing

Chocolate Caramel Delight Cupcakes

Tiramisu Cheesecake