A little cupcake makes a big smile

Cooking with Cathie

Cathie CampbellApril 10, 2013 

Yes, I know that most cupcakes are not healthful items to consume, but one must admit they are very appealing to most folks. I do know some people who do not like sweets of any kind, but they are the minority.

If you don't mind indulging in a cupcake now and then -- if your health allows it, of course -- then you might find some recipes here you'd like to try out. Even if you can't eat cupcakes, you might consider donating them to a bake sale.

P.S. In all my recipes, flour means all-purpose and sugar means white granulated. If the recipes call for anything else, I will specify.

Chocolate and vanilla bean cupcakes

Sometimes it's hard to find vanilla bean paste, but it's around, or you can order it online from baking supply stores.

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • For the filling:
  • 1 teaspoon water, hot
  • 3 1/2 ounces marshmallow creme (sometimes called fluff)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the frosting:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk or cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. For the cupcake batter: In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk until well blended. In a small bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until well combined and lighter in color. Add the eggs and whisk until completely mixed into the butter mixture. Whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla bean paste. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and whisk until just combined and no large lumps remain. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when pressed gently in the center. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for five minutes then carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. For the filling: In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the filling and whisk until completely mixed. Place the filling into a pastry bag fitted with a medium sized star tip. Once the cakes are cooled completely, take a small paring knife and poke it into the center of the cupcake in a cross pattern about 1 inch deep. Take the pastry bag and place the tip into the cross and pipe in about one tablespoon of filling, or until the filling just starts to come out of the hole. Clean off the tops of the cupcakes before frosting.
  4. For the frosting: In a medium bowl, combine the butter and vanilla bean paste. Add the powdered sugar and 3/4 of the milk. Whisk to combine. If the frosting seems stiff add the remaining milk. Frost the cupcakes as desired. Makes one dozen.

Cherry Coke float cupcakes

You can use Cherry Coke or plain, as you will be adding cherry syrup to the batter.

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup Coca-Cola
  • 1/4 cup maraschino cherry syrup
  • 24 maraschino cherries (pitted)
  • Whipped cream, for frosting ice-cream chocolate shell
  1. Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Beat the egg, buttermilk and vanilla in a second bowl. In a saucepan, boil the Coca-Cola, and cherry syrup gently for five minutes. Melt in the butter and cocoa powder. Pour into the dry ingredients, stir well with a wooden spoon, and then add the liquid ingredients, beating until everything is blended.
  2. Pour into the cupcake pans and push a cherry into the center of each cupcake. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  3. When cool frost with whipped cream. Drizzle on chocolate glaze and top with a maraschino cherry. Makes one dozen.

Dulce de leche cupcakes

Find canned dulce de leche in Mexican markets or in the Mexican food section of your supermarket.

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup milk

For the frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup dulce de leche
  1. For cupcake batter: Preheat oven to 325. Grease a standard 12-cup muffin pan or insert paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the sugars and butter. Add the eggs and vanilla until combined. Alternate the flour mixture with the milk until you get a smooth batter. Spoon into the muffin pan wells equally, about 2/3 full.
  3. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
  4. For frosting: Cream together softened butter and powdered sugar on low using an electric mixer. Add cream, vanilla and salt and beat on medium speed until smooth and no lumps appear. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the prepared dulce de leche and beat to blend well. Frost cooled cupcakes using a knife or a pastry bag and tip. Makes one dozen.

Strawberry cream cheese cupcakes

Adapted from a recipe by Paula Deen.

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 box (18.25-oz.) white cake mix
  • 1 box (3-oz.) strawberry flavored gelatin
  • 1 package (15-oz.) frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed (Note: You can also buy two 10-oz. packages and use any leftover strawberry puree in the frosting.)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water

For the frosting:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 package (8-oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup strawberry puree (Measure it from the leftover puree you made for the batter.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Up to 7 cups confectioners' sugar
  • Fresh sliced strawberries, for garnish
  1. For the cupcake batter: Preheat oven to 350. Line three 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix and gelatin. Add pureed strawberries, eggs, oil, and water; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Don't worry if the batter seems a bit runny.
  3. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake for about 20 minutes, turning the pans once, halfway through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick to check if they are done. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
  4. For the frosting: In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in 1/4 cup of the strawberry puree and the vanilla extract. (The rest of the puree is leftover but can be used in smoothies or on ice cream for a delicious treat.) Gradually add confectioners' sugar, beating until smooth. Frost the cupcakes with a butter knife or spatula, or pipe on the frosting with a big star tip. Garnish with fresh strawberries, if desired. Makes 36 cupcakes.

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