MS Cupcake Club: Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

September 15, 2010

After a couple of months of missing it, I was happy to be able to participate in September’s Martha Stewart Cupcake Club. This month’s recipe is cookies and cream cheesecake cupcakes, from the Martha Stewart Cupcake book. The idea is that these make mini cheesecakes. You put an Oreo at the bottom and make a cheesecake batter with crushed Oreos in it.

I used reduced fat cream cheese without even thinking about it – that’s what I always buy. I think that might have been a mistake since I could not get these to set up. I baked them for 10 minutes longer than Martha said and they were still wiggly. I took them out and hoped that when they chilled they would set up. They were mushy. You couldn’t peel the wrapper off, so we ended up eating them with spoons. Oh well. They still tasted great and if they had set up, they would have been beautiful. So lesson learned here – use regular cream cheese!

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MSC Cupcake Club: Strawberry Cupcakes

June 15, 2010

Strawberry cupcakes! What a thought. This is a perfect pick for June. I’ve made strawberry muffins before, but not strawberry cupcakes. This recipe is from Martha Stewart’s cupcake book and is the June selection for the MSC Cupcake Club.

The cupcake batter was lovely and wonderful tasting – I could have eaten a bowl just of that. Sigh. They baked up nicely. I was hesitant about the frosting – strawberry buttercream. I tend not to do well with Martha’s frostings, but I went for it. It’s a basic buttercream with pureed strawberries added at the end. I took my time and it turned out well I thought. I didn’t get out the cake decorating tips – ugh. Instead I just sort of free-form glopped frosting on top of these. They looked cute I thought. They tasted pretty good too. They got a thumbs up from everyone, except Teen Martha, who wouldn’t even try one because “I don’t like fruit in my cupcakes.” My only complaint was that they weren’t chocolate! They were moist and did taste like strawberry. Now I have a refrigerator full of cupcakes which I am quickly going to give away so they don’t end up on my hips!

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MS Cupcake Club: Tres Leches

May 15, 2010

This month’s MS Cupcake Club pick is Tres Leches Cupcakes, from the Martha Stewart Cupcake book. I just finished making these. The batter was easy to make (even though I accidentally got egg yolk in the whites and had to start over). After you bake it, you are supposed to brush a mix of cream, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk on them. It made so much though and it took forever to brush it over and over on the cupcakes. I stopped when I had a few tablespoons left and the cupcakes looked pretty saturated.

I tasted one after they sat for 30 min and I didn’t care for it. It tasted very eggy and custardy to me. I then sprinkled my last bite with cinnamon sugar, and that was good, so I did it to the rest and put them in the fridge and am hoping maybe they will taste better cold later tonight or tomorrow. They’re also really wet, so maybe they will sort of set up once they’re cold.

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MSC Cupcake Club: Jumbo Cream Filled Choc Cupcakes

April 15, 2010

It’s time again for the MSC Cupcake Club. This month’s recipe is Jumbo Cream Filled Chocolate Cupcakes from Martha’s cupcake book. My motto for this project is “Oh me of little faith”. These cupcakes are supposed to mimic the Hostess cupcakes I grew up adoring.

I whipped up the batter and thought it tasted pretty good. I made these as regular size cupcakes, not jumbo. When they came out of the oven, one fell apart and I sampled it. Here is where the “oh me of little faith” motto comes in. I thought it tasted not so great – dry and crumbly and not good. I was worried this was going to be a disaster.

Then I made the filling. I am NOT a fan of marshmallows, so once again I thought this was going to be a thumbs down component since it is just Fluff and butter. I didn’t really care for how the cream filling tasted.

Then I began the task of filling the cupcakes. I admit I used a ziploc bag w/ the corner cut off and did not attempt a pastry bag. I had some real trouble hollowing these out and filling, which may have been b/c I did not make jumbo size. They fell apart, the pieces I cut out fell apart, etc. And of course my ziploc was a mess. I made zigzags on the top but had to make an extra half batch of cream filling because I ran out. I had crumbs and cream all over the counter and my hands – I looked like the creature from the Black Lagoon.

After all that fuss, I was sure this was going to be a reject recipe. Surprise! I loved this when it was all together and once I had forgotten what an unholy mess they were to fill. It did taste just like the Hostess cupcakes (although it was missing the layer of chocolate on the top). For the life of me, I do not know how cupcakes that tasted dry and awful and cream filling that tasted yucky could come together to make something so divine. Some weird alchemy. Martha gets major points for this, and so does the MSC club because I would never have tried this one on my own.

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MSC Cupcake Club: Lemon Meringue

March 15, 2010

The MSC Cupcake Club pick for this month is Lemon Meringue Cupcakes from Martha Stewart’s Cupcake book. I must confess I cheated on this one. I made a cake instead of cupcakes, but it was exactly the same components – cake batter, lemon curd, and 7 minute frosting.  I had people for dinner and really wanted to serve a cake, not cupcakes.

I thought the lemon curd was easier to make than I expected. I made the cake and curd the day before and assembled them and covered it then made the frosting the next day. As you can see, the curd turned slightly brown overnight. The frosting actually worked for me this time (a first!) and it was really, really good. I added some lemon extract to it to pump up the lemon flavor and the frosting was to die for! I thought the cake was pretty good. It was pretty and everyone enjoyed it.

If you’re looking for Martha Mondays, scroll down to the next post. MSC and Martha Mondays keep falling on the same day!

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MSC Cupcake Club: Smores

February 15, 2010

The MS Cupcake Club recipe for this month is Smore Cupcakes from the Martha Stewart Cupcakes book. I’m not a big smores fan, but I knew other folks in my house would enjoy this. The recipe called for graham flour, which I could not find anywhere. So, I simply used pulverized graham crackers instead.

The cupcakes baked nicely and then I made the chocolate ganache to go on top. That was dangerous – all that warm, delicious chocolate in a bowl on my counter!

The marshmallow topping is one of Martha’s famous frosting recipes and as usual, it didn’t quite turn out as it was supposed to. I thought I got it to soft peaks, but when I went to put it on the cupcakes, it just kind of sank. I stuck the cupcakes in the oven under the broiler to the brown the tops and that worked perfectly.

They did taste like smores. Teen Martha’s boyfriend loved these. There was actual moaning, folks.

Martha Mondays will be up tomorrow!

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MS Cupcake Club: Coconut Cupcakes

January 15, 2010

Can I be honest here? I am not a fan of coconut. But I knew my son would enjoy this, as would Mr. MarthaandMe’s office, so I made Martha’s Coconut Cupcakes, from her cupcake book, as part of the MS Cupcake Club. The cupcake part wasn’t a problem (once I threw myself on the mercy of the grocery store customer service desk to please locate the unsweetened coconut milk – it ended up being in the Thai section but they didn’t have unsweetened so I bought “lite”), but the frosting just about killed me. How hard can frosting be? Apparently quite challenging. First of all, let me explain I was not completely together as I made this. I had just read an ultrasound report regarding an immediate family member and was waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for a call from a Dr. I thought baking would distract me. Clearly, I was not together enough to do this.

I’ve made Martha’s 7 minute frosting before without a problem, but this time I just couldn’t do it. First of all, I thought I would experiment and see if I could use white Egg Beaters (not the yellow kind that are supposed to substitute for eggs)  instead of egg whites. That was a failure, so I got out the eggs. Somehow I got yolk mixed in with the whites and had to throw it all out. So for the third batch, I had the whites in the bowl and was mixing them. The sugar was boiling and was almost to the temp I needed. Then the phone rang. I was waiting for the Dr so I turned it off and answered it. Not the Dr. I tried again, heating it up and beating the eggs and just when I reached the right temp, you guessed it, the phone rang AGAIN. And again, not the Dr. So I heated it up a third time and this time successfully got it mixed into the egg whites. No surprise, of course, that this was just a bowl of liquid glop. It never set up as frosting. I finally gave up (really, I wanted to hurl it across the kitchen but I restrained myself). I dipped the tops of the cupcakes in the frosting liquid and then pressed the tops into the coconut. I got enough frosting to at least get the coconut to stick.

They actually look pretty good I think. I did choke a bite down just to sample this. It didn’t taste much like coconut (once I scraped the flaked coconut off the top). So that is my tale of the coconut cupcakes!

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MSC Cupcake Club: Gingerbread Cupcakes

December 15, 2009

Gingerbread cupcakes – what could be a better pick for December? I was so enthusiastic about these, I even bought holiday cupcake papers and little gingerbread toothpick guys to decorate. This recipe is from the Martha Stewart Cupcake book. Visit the MSC Cupcake Club page and other members if you get a chance.

As always, these cupcakes were a breeze to whip up. There was only one small problem – I didn’t have quite enough ginger. I only had 1 1/2 tbsp and the recipe called for 2 tbsp. Sorry Martha!

This made 22 very small cupcakes. Usually I like to fill my cupcake tins pretty close to the top and have them rise out of the tins. There wasn’t enough to do this and they didn’t rise a lot.

I just made a plain white frosting and decorated with my toothpick guys (as always I am sure I will be embarrassed once I see the other club members’ creativity!).

As for taste, I was not a big fan. I would rather eat real gingerbread. The kids liked them and so did Mr. MarthaAndMe. I sent most of these off to school with Teen Martha who fed them to her Virgil (Latin) class.

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MS Cupcake Club: Sweet Potato Cupcakes

November 15, 2009

sw pot muff1So here’s the deal. I’ve never had sweet potato pie or that candied sweet potato dish people make for Thanksgiving. The only way I make sweet potatoes is as oven baked fries. And I use the white sweet potatoes, not the ones people think of as yams. So I’m pretty clueless about the sweet potato thing. And, I have to say, the idea of potatoes in pie never, ever appealed to me. I also am not a fan of marshmallows. I don’t like them roasted, I don’t like s’mores, and I’ve never had them with sweet potatoes – although I am partial to Rice Krispie treats!

The Martha Stewart Cupcake Club assignment for today was Martha’s sweet sw pot muff2potato cupcakes (from the Martha Stewart Cupcake Book).  It was pretty easy to make – your basic cupcakes, except you added a lot of mashed sweet potato. I thought the batter tasted pretty good.

They took longer to bake (as usual), but came out looking nice. Martha says to pile marshmallows on a baking sheet and blow torch them or broil them to get them brown. Then you’re supposed to transfer them to the tops of the cupcakes. That sounded ridiculous to me. Instead, as soon as the cupcakes came out, I stuck the marshmallows on top. Because the cupcakes were warm, the marshmallows stuck. Then I stuck them under the broiler to brown them. It worked very well and was much easier than trying to transfer them. Martha also says to add candied pecans to the top, but I skipped that step.

I thought these were good, but I don’t think it’s something I would make again. It did sort of taste like pumpkin pie, but I couldn’t get out of my head that it was potatoes! The family sort of felt the same way. Off this went to Mr. MarthaAndMe’s office where they were enjoyed from what I heard. Maybe sweet potatoes in desserts is a learned taste.

Anyway, it was fun to make and they did look cute with the marshmallows.

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MS Cupcake Club: Halloween Bonus Round

October 31, 2009

hall arm cupcake2I signed up for the MS Cupcake Club October bonus round. The assignment was to make any cupcake you wanted for Halloween (Happy Halloween, by the way!).

I made Martha’s one-bowl chocolate cupcakes (from Martha Stewart’s Cupcake Book) and made them into Buried Alive Cupcakes, which I am serving at our Halloween party this afternoon.

I made the recipe and baked them (I actually did this in advance and froze them). I decorated with a little chocolate frosting then stuck a doll arm in each one, as if a person is trying to claw their way out. We also kind of shredded the side of each cupcake to make it look like it someone was trying to work their way out (You can’t really see this in the photo very well). Actually finding the dolls was the hardest part of this! I thought I would be able to buy bags of cheap kewpie-type dolls at the dollar store. Wrong. The cheap dolls were $1 each. I tried to find doll parts online, but with the cost of shipping, it was ridiculous. Finally I gave in and bought 9 dolls at the dollar store and that allowed me to do 18 cupcakes.

Tune in tomorrow for details on how the party went!

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