Strawberry-Raspberry Poptart Cupcakes

I make my son special cupcakes for his birthday each year. When I asked him what he wanted this year he told me he wanted a Poptart cupcakes and I kind of just stared at him. Frankly it just sounded like a lot of work and there was no guarantee that I could pull it off because who the hell has heard of Poptart cupcakes. At first I was going to blow him off and just “you get what you get what” him.

 

But I started playing with the idea.

 

I went to the Google to see if I was on the right track. I was surprised to find that all of the other recipes I saw were….not like this. So I sat down and worked it out and this is what I came up with. I fully intend on doing these again. There are just so many flavor-filling options!

 

We prefer strawberry Poptarts. I decided to pump up the berry by adding raspberry to the mixture. I matched the tangy raspberry with the tart lemon juice. The jam is bright and tart, so it cuts through the sweetness of the other components. The jam would be amazing on a croissant *drool*.

It may look like a lot of work but just break it up into steps. Some things you can make ahead. This is my suggested order:

  1. Cupcake
  2. Jam
  3. Icing
  4. Decorate

 

Ingredients:

Vanilla Cupcakes

For Jam:

1 pint of raspberries

1 cup of roughly chopped strawberries

1/4-1/2  sugar

1/8 c water

1/8 c lemon juice

Tsp lemon zest

 

For Icing:

2 egg whites, room temperature

4+ c confectioner’s sugar, sifted

1 ½ c melted white sugar morsels

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp water, if needed

 

Decorations:

Pieces of poptart

Strawberry jello

Sugar crystals*

 

  1. Prepare the vanilla cupcakes

For the jam:

  1. Combine the liquids and the sugar
  2. Stir until sugar melts
  3. Add berries
  4. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer
  5. Simmer covered until the berries start to break down (you can smush to help it along)
  6. Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently until the liquid begins to evaporate and the mixture thickens (this is called reducing).
  7. Taste and adjust to your preference.
  8. You want a pretty thick, scoop-able consistency but honestly, you just don’t want it watery. Otherwise your sponge will just sop it up and then your filling won’t be much of a filling.
  9. Set aside to cool. (This is an easily adjustable recipe, this was more than enough for 12 cupcakes and breakfast toast the next day.)

For the icing:

  1. While the cupcakes are cooling, melt the white chocolate over a double boiler
  2. Set aside to cool
  3. In your stand mixer, use the whisk attachment to beat the whites until they’re fluffy
  4. Add vanilla extract
  5. Slowly incorporate some of the powdered sugar
  6. Mix in the white chocolate
  7. Continue adding the sugar
    1. Here is where I hiccupped, my icing was way drippier than I wanted. Add as much sugar as you need to achieve a thick-spread that won’t drip down a bunch.
  8. Prepare your decorations
    1. I could not find crystal sprinkles so I made colored sugar*
  9. Poke your finger or a cylindrical tool deep into the cupcakes to form a divot. You don’t want to poke through the cake
  10. Fill the divots with the cooled jam
  11. Spread the thick icing on top
  12. Stick in poptart pieces
  13. Sprinkle with sprinkles or sugar and strawberry jello

 

Happy 8th Birthday, kid.

 

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Simple Vanilla Cupcake

This is my go to vanilla cupcake recipe. Because it’s such a perfect vehicle, I use this as the base for 90% of my cupcakes.

I don’t generally like a super sweet sponge because usually I am loading it up with buttercream, chocolate or fillings. So I often opt to use less sugar. If you enjoy a sweeter cupcake then I suggest 1 to 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Some recipes call for milk or cream, however, I substitute sour cream. This yields a moister cake. That’s a 1:1 ratio. So if you prefer to use milk or cream or if that’s all you have, just remember it’s a direct conversion

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Simple Vanilla

 

 

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Blackberry Vanilla Cupcakes

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

1⅓ cups AP flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 stick (1/2 c) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 granulated sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup light sour cream

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Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350F

Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.

In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

Using your paddle attachment and your stand mixer, cream (beat together) the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Scrape the bowl as necessary.

Add eggs one at a time. Make sure the first is fully incorporated before adding the next.

Add vanilla extract and beat until combined.

Turn the mixer down to slow.

Add half of the dry ingredients

Add sour cream

Add remaining dry ingredients

Be careful not to overmix the batter but be sure that everything is well incorporated.

Divide the batter into the tins. This is enough for 12 decent size cupcakes.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, toothpick check and cool on a wire rack.

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Boston Creme Cupcakes

 

I’ve been itching to bake lately. My partner came up with the brilliant idea that I should try my hand at Boston Creme Cupcakes. I will tell you now, this is a labor-intensive cupcake. But they are so damn good, it’s worth it. Prepare your ingredients and your tools so that you can work quickly and efficiently. There are basically four key steps: Pastry cream, cupcake, ganache and fill/dip. Don’t let this intimidate you. Work smarter, not harder. Use your ‘down time’ productively and these will come right together before your eyes.

 

FYI: I did not use a super sweet, moist sponge for this because we’re filling it with sweet pastry cream and topping with a shiny ganache.

 

Ingredients:

 

Pastry cream:

2 egg yolks

6 tbsp granulated sugar

1 ½ tbsp cornstarch

1 c half and half

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Sponge:

1 ½ cup AP flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 stick of butter (unsalted), room temp

½ cup of light sour cream

1 large egg, 2 yolks, room temp

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

 

Ganache:

4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

4 oz milk chocolate chips

½ cup of half and half

1 tbsp of butter

 

Pastry cream:

  1. In a bowl, beat yolksbc
  2. In a sauce pan, add sugar, cornstarch and milk, mix until combined
  3. While cooking, whisk constantly. It will begin to thicken.bc3
  4. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 1-2 minutes, take off of the heat
  5. Add a small amount of the hot milk mixture to the eggs and whisk.
    • This is called tempering. You want to ensure that you don’t cook the eggs. So, slowly add some hot liquid to warm up the temp of the yolks.bc2
  6. Add the egg mixture to the hot milk mixture and whisk
  7. Put the saucepan back on the heat and bring to a boil, allow to continue for 1-2 minutes. Whisking constantly.
  8. Take off of the heat and add your butter and vanilla and combinebc4
  9. Set to the side to cool

 

 

Sponge:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Line or spray your cupcake tin
  3. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer
  4. Add the butter, the sour cream, the egg (plus yolks) and the vanilla
  5. Beat using the paddle attachment for 20-30 seconds, you don’t want any “pockets” of flour20171118_190204bc5
  6. Fill the tins
  7. Bake until the cupcakes pass the toothpick test (roughly 20-25 minutes)
  8. Again, these aren’t super sweet or super moist. The tops will likely crack some. You’re doing amazing, this is not “wrong”. The sponge is actually almost like a soft scone, a perfect vehicle for filling and topping.

 

Ganache:

 

  1. You’re going to create a double boiler with a pot of boiling water and a glass bowl (my preferred method)
  2. Put the chocolate in the bowl
  3. Add the half and half
  4. Using a whisk or silicone spatula, stir as the chocolate is meltingbc6
  5. Stir in a tab of butter, this adds a super pretty sheen (and well, butter flavor, duh)

 

 

 

 

  • Remove your cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool
  • Using a tool or a knife (if push comes to shove, use your finger) to create a canal for the pastry creambc7
  • Fill the cupcakesbc8
  • Carefully dip the cupcakes in the ganache to coat the topbc9
  • As the ganache cools, it will harden.
  • These are best served warm or room temperature. NOM!

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#TT: Maple Bourbon Bacon Cupcakes

Thrifty or Throwback Thursday? It’s the inaugural post, we’ll figure that out as we grow. For the #TT posts I intend to revisit dishes that I’ve previously posted to IG (but did not include recipes)*

I know that there are certain posts that some of you have messaged me about. So, this #TT series will be your opportunity to get your hands on those recipes!

This #TT will be in honor of our housewarming. My family and I recently moved to Washington, DC. We warmed our home with old friends, new friends and family. It was a blast! And there was so. much. food. I barely ate but, as most cooks do, I tasted along the way so I was full before I could put my feet up.

There were jerk chicken sliders. There was a spicy pineapple slaw. Turkey burger sliders. Veggie packed lasagna. And the star of the show- Maple Bourbon Bacon Cupcakes. That’s a mouthful and they were a mouthful.

NOM!

 

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These are a basic vanilla cupcake that are topped with a simple maple buttercream.

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Where’s the booze!? I know that’s why you’re here. Booze and bacon, I’m getting to it. So, instead of incorporating the booze into the batter, I chose to make a simple syrup with the bourbon. That beautiful twankle and glisten on the cupcakes? Bourbon simple syrup. But Alexa, is that all the booze in these cupcakes!? Oh. Oh, absolutely not. That very same boozy simple syrup was poured onto each and every single cupcake before the buttercream topping. Yes. You’re welcome.

 

And obviously. The bacons.

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Maple Bourbon Bacon Cupcakes 

Yields 12-18 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

1 stick of unsalted butter

1 cup of sugar

2 large eggs

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 ½ Cups All Purpose Flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ cup of milk

 

For the buttercream:

2 sticks of unsalted butter (room temperature)

3 ½ cups powdered sugar

6 tbsp pure maple syrup

pinch of sea salt

 

For the simple syrup:

½ cup of water

½ cup of sugar

½ cup of bourbon

 

For THE (candied) BACONS:

¼- ½ lb bacon

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp bourbon

 

For the simple vanilla cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your cupcake tin
  2. In a large bowl or your stand mixer (you should totally invest in a stand mixer) place the butter and sugar; beat until light and fluffy on med-high speed
  3. Add in the eggs one at a time until well combined; add the vanilla and scrape the sides. Mix until smooth, about one minute on med-high speed.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together baking powder and flour
  5. Pour in some of the flour mixture, some of the milk and alternate until incorporated fully
  6. Fill the cupcake liners about ¾ full
  7. Place them in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, you want a golden top.
  8. Do the handy dandy toothpick test
  9. Place tin on a cooling rack; after a few minutes remove the cupcakes from the tin
  10. Once fully cooled use a tooth pick to poke a half dozen holes in the cupcakes; carefully spoon the syrup over the cupcakes. The cake will absorb the flavorful liquid.
  11. After, you can go on and frost them bad boys!

For the buttercream:

  1. In a large bowl or a stand mixer that is fitted with the whisk attachment (I told you a stand mixer is a good investment), whip the butter for about 30 seconds
  2. Add the powdered sugar very carefully, one cup at a time. You do not want to inhale a sugar cloud. Trust me.
  3. Scrape the sides; alternate the speed from slow (as you pour) and then med-high to incorporate well for each addition
  4. Scrape down the sides and slowly add the maple syrup
  5. Mix on med-high for about four minutes until the buttercream comes together and is nice and fluffy.
  6. Chill in the fridge for a few minutes prior to icing the cupcakes

For the boozy simple syrup:

  1. Pour ½ cup of water and ½ cup of sugar into a sauce pan
  2. Heat the ingredients until fully dissolved, whisk constantly
  3. Add ½ cup of booze and stir to incorporate
  4. Taste, taste, taste! Adjust accordingly, if needed. I vaguely remember adding more booze. Don’t be like me (be like me, they were amazing!)
  5. Let simmer until it thickens up like a syrup

For THE (candied) BACONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cut the bacon in half so that they’re easier to manage
  3. In a small mixing bowl combine the brown sugar, maple syrup and bourbon
  4. Place the bacon in the bowl and toss to coat evenly
  5. While the bacon rests in the boozy mixture, line a baking sheet with foil and top with a baking rack
  6. Lay the bacon on the rack in a single layer
  7. Back 20-30 minutes, or until just crispy. Because there is sugar, this bacon can and will burn very quickly so pay close attention as it nears the 20 minute mark.
  8. Let cool and then chop up
  9. Sprinkle the chopped bacon on top of the frosted cupcakes

 

 

 

 

 

(*Due to the nature of these posts, images and recipes may not be as thorough as newly posted content. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask.)

 

 

 

 

© 2016 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved