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: 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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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: Pumpkin Cupcakes

October 15, 2009

pump muffinIt’s the 15th, so it’s time for another installment of the Martha Stewart Cupcake Club (please go check out some of the other member’s blogs). This month’s cupcake is Pumpkin Patch, from Martha’s cupcake book – a timely choice. I usually make pumpkin bread around this time of year and also have a pumpkin cookie recipe that is a favorite around here. I was excited to try the pumpkin cupcakes.

I used all whole wheat pastry flour in this recipe – a first for me. The recipe also include buttermilk, which always means it will be very moist. This doesn’t have a ton of pumpkin – a cup and a half. The cupcakes mixed up nicely – and they were my first recipe using my brand new hand mixer. The beaters on my old one rusted and were falling apart, it was time for a new one pumpk muff2(and the replacement price for the beaters was higher than the cost of a brand new mixer!).

These took longer to bake than Martha predicted – about 10 minutes more actually. They were very wiggly for a long time. I made the cream cheese frosting suggested in the recipe (except I only made half a batch of it because I remember how much it made), but here, my cupcake club friends, is where I failed you. As you can see, my cupcakes were a bit of a mess. I tried to just spread some frosting on top. Silly me. This really needs to be piped on since the cupcake is very soft and fragile. Mine completely fell apart when I tried to put frosting on with an offset spatula. I’m just not into piping (mostly because I HATE trying to clean those little plastic tips). So these cupcakes are the ugly stepsisters of the ones other members of the club will have on their blogs, I’m sure.

Even though they didn’t look very nice, these tasted great! They were fabulous and I was pleased with the way the whole wheat pastry flour tasted. It wasn’t too heavy nor was it overpoweringly wheaty. It did have a pumpkin flavor, but again, it was not overwhelming. They were soft and moist. The frosting, of course, was just evil, as Martha’s cream cheese frosting always is. Everyone in the family liked these very much. A winner!

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MS Cupcake Club: Banana Pecan

September 30, 2009

banana nutI signed up to participate in a bonus round of the Martha Stewart Cupcake Club. Members are required to bake one recipe a month, on the 15th. A bonus round for the Banana Pecan Cupcakes was set for Sept 30 on a voluntary basis. I couldn’t pass it by. It just so happens that the kids had been asking me to make banana bread AND I had some practically rotten bananas at the ready.

Mr. MarthaAndMe grew up eating banana bread a lot. I didn’t. His mother always baked banana bread inside a clean tin can, so that it came out round. As a kid, that was a big deal to him. Although I don’t bake my banana bread in a tin can, I do make it once in a while. Mr. MarthaAndMe likes to put cream cheese on his (blech!) but the kids like theirs plain. I always use my grandmother’s recipe which is foolproof. I was ready to give Martha’s recipe a try though.

Martha’s recipe is pretty similar to mine, but she uses cake flour. Normally I banana nut2use half white flour and half wheat flour in mine, but I followed the instructions here. The rest of the recipe was pretty unremarkable. I whipped it up and filled cupcake papers with it. Then it hit me – the recipe has no cinnamon in it! That is a travesty, so I mixed some cinnamon and coarse sugar together and sprinkled it on the tops of the cupcakes. Also, I left about 6 cupcakes without nuts for Dude Martha, who prefers no nuts in his.

These cupcakes took a lot longer to bake than Martha said – about 10 minutes more. They turned out nicely and everyone liked them. I did not frost them because these are really a muffin, not a cupcake and I also did top them with cinnamon and sugar.

I think I would stick to my grandmother’s recipe in the future, but I might make them as muffins, because they are convenient for freezing and for people to grab for breakfast.

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MS Cupcake Club: Zucchini-Spice

September 15, 2009

I recently joined the Martha Stewart Cupcake Club – a group of bloggers who together make a recipe from Martha Stewart’s Cupcake Book each month and post on the 15th. What fun to be joining this group. This is my first post for the club. This month’s pick was Zucchini-Spice Cupcakes. Timely indeed, considering I have some zucchini lying about and I’ve run out of ideas for them. I recently made Martha’s Lemon-Zucchini Cornmeal Cookies (Sept Everyday Living) and was happy to have another Martha zucchini baked item to make with zucchini.

The batter

The batter

These were easy to whip up.  The recipe uses vegetable oil and brown sugar, and includes cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg as spices.  Other key ingredients are walnuts (I used pecans instead) and some lemon zest which is an interesting touch. As always, I cheated and did my wet ingredients and then dumped in my dry ingredients without sifting. I know Martha would be appalled.

I grated the zucchini in the Cuisinart (which is on its last legs I think, since it is now over 20 years old – a wedding gift). I think that if you wanted to be

Out of the oven

Out of the oven

sneaky, you could peel the zucchini so there wouldn’t be any telltale green in these cupcakes to give you away to your kids. I was tempted to do that, but ultimately I was too lazy to peel.

I filled 24 cupcake holders and put it in the oven to bake…..and bake…. and bake. I always have this problem with Martha’s recipes. It took an extra 10 minutes for these to finally be done.  When they came out they looked and smelled great.

The book says to use the cream cheese frosting recipe from the back of the book, so I did, but I used light cream cheese and organic cultured butter. Cream cheese frosting is just evil. It tastes so darn good on anything. You can fool

Frosted

Frosted

yourself that zucchini cupcakes are healthy until you slather on a mound of cream cheese frosting. This frosting recipe made far too much in my opinion, even after I mounded it on the cupcakes.

Results? Excuse me while I wipe the cream cheese from my upper lip. They were good. Really good. They were like a light spice cake. The nuts are a nice addition. They were so good that I had to get them out of the house (this is part of my Martha philosophy – Martha Stewart makes desserts, but she has one serving and then shares the rest and gives it away). Bye-bye cupcakes! I know you will be enjoyed by people at Mr. MarthaAndMe’s office!

First bite

First bite

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